First CBM production from Essar block in two months

Vol 11, PW 22 (20 Mar 08) Exploration & Production

Essar is gearing up to begin first CBM commercial production from Raniganj East by the end of May - just one month after it begins drilling test wells.

When this happens Essar will become the second commercial CBM producer in India after Great Eastern Energy, beating even Reliance, which is yet to begin producing. In July 2007, Great Eastern began commercial CBM production from its nearby Raniganj West block, also in West Bengal.

Both blocks are near each other, but do not share a common boundary. Each test well in Essar’s block, if drilled vertically, should yield about 5000 cm/d CBM.

But if Essar chooses to drill multilateral wells, “production will be about 30,000 cm/d from each well,â€‌ claims the company. Next month (April) Essar expects to finalise its multilateral well strategy.

“We could start drilling these wells after the monsoon, in September or October,â€‌ we are told. “The number of multilateral wells will depend on technical factors like the nature of the formation, the thickness of the coal seams.

â€‌ Essar plans to drill a total of 400 vertical wells on this block over two or three years. But if it opts for multilateral wells, it will drill 90 only.

“One multilateral well is roughly equivalent to six vertical wells in terms of the area drained. We will use our own rig but the technology will come from Gardes Energy Services.

â€‌ Essar expects to produce around 2.5m cm/d CBM from the block when the drilling programme is completed and foresees no trouble finding a market. “We will not flare any CBM,â€‌ says Essar.

“Finding a market is no issue at all. There’s enough room for everybody and a huge shortage of gas in this region.

â€‌ Initial CBM production will be filled in metal cylinders (cascades) and sold to small industrial units such as ceramics factories in the vicinity.