Deepwater Frontier begins development drilling at D-6

Vol 10, PW 8 (10 Aug 06) Exploration & Production

Reliance Industries has begun development drilling at its discovery block D-6 (KG-DWN-98/3) in the Krishna Godavari basin.

On 26th July, Transocean deepwater drillship Deepwater Frontier spud her first development well on this block - days ahead of schedule. Strictly speaking, this is the second development well on the block.

The first was drilled to about 3500 metres depth and plugged in November 2005 by another Transocean drillship, Discoverer 534, sitting in 1300 metres water. Deepwater Frontier is sitting in 1969 metres water, about 40-km from shore and will drill to a total depth of about 6300 metres.

It will take between four and six weeks to drill this well, says an industry source. After target depth is reached and tests are completed, Reliance will carry out a Mud Line Suspension.

The well will be temporarily plugged till it is ready to be put on production and hooked up to the gas evacuation system. Then, Deepwater Frontier will move on to drill additional development wells on the block.

Between December this year and February next year, Reliance is expecting another Transocean deepwater drillship to reach D-6: Deepwater Expedition. Both Deepwater Expedition and Deepwater Frontier have been assigned the task of drilling a total 14 development wells by June 2008 on discoveries Dhirubhai-1 and 3.

These 14 wells, we are told, make up Reliances Phase-1 of the development work at D-6 and will be completed by June 2008 in time to land first gas just south of Kakinada. Development of the giant gasfield is moving to schedule.

Reliance has already placed orders for all long lead items such as christmas trees, umbilicals and manifolds. Deliveries will start in the first quarter of 2008, we are told.

A mock-up assembly will be done on land to ensure that everything has come in and then the offshore, underwater installation will take place. The 14 wells in Phase-I will be connected through 14 christmas trees to two manifolds and then to a pipeline end manifold and then to the twin, 24-inch diameter pipeline that will transport the gas to shore.

The twin, 24-inch pipeline is to take care of future capacity expansion.