BP set to hire Mitchell Drilling rig for BB-CBM-2005/III

Vol 12, PW 11 (16 Oct 08) Exploration & Production

BP is gearing up to begin drilling core-holes at its BB-CBM-2005/III CBM block in the Birbhum district of West Bengal following a successful meeting with environment ministry officials in Delhi on September 23.

“The meeting took all of ten minutes,â€‌ confirms BP. “As we expected no serious problems were raised.

In the next few months we should start drilling.â€‌ BP is now awaiting formal notification from the environment ministry before starting work.

Separately, PETROWATCH learns BP is set to award a Letter of Intent to Brisbane-based CBM drilling specialist Mitchell Drilling to drill its committed eight core-holes at the block. Mitchell, one of the first overseas CBM contractor to set up an office in India, already has a rig on hire to Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Industries and another to Australian explorer Arrow Energy.

“BP should issue the LoI to Mitchell next month (November),â€‌ reports an industry source. When that happens BP will most likely ask Mitchell to mobilise the rig on location at BB-CBM-2005/III by December this year and begin drilling the first of eight committed core-holes soon after.

Only two contractors are believed to have offered rigs to BP: Mitchell and Gurgaon-based South West Pinnacle. “BP asked for technical and price bids from both Mitchell and South West Pinnacle,â€‌ adds a source.

“They went through the entire process with both contractors, except price negotiations.â€‌ BP is believed to have asked interested contractors to organise site visits to blocks in India where they are operating.

South West Pinnacle, we learn, arranged its â€کfield’ visit to Chattisgarh so that BP could inspect the rig and meet the drilling crew on hire to Arrow Energy at the TR-CBM-2005/III block, where it is drilling core-holes. “BP enjoyed the hospitality provided by South West Pinnacle,â€‌ we hear, “but ended up choosing Mitchell.

â€‌ South West will be hoping for better luck when BP chooses a second rig to drill the five committed test wells.