Assam promise as HOEC readies for appraisal

Vol 13, PW 11 (05 Nov 09) Exploration & Production

Private sector Indian explorer HOEC is evaluating bids from three drilling contractors for a planned appraisal programme at exploration block AAP-ON-94/1 (left) in Assam.

PETROWATCH learns Chennai-based Eni subsidiary HOEC wants to hire one 1500-hp to 2000-hp land rig that can drill up to 3500 metres depth for the planned appraisal programme at this pre-NELP block, beginning next March. After receiving several EoIs, HOEC has shortlisted three contractors for the job, whose identity we have not managed to uncover.

“We’re evaluating short-listed contractors,â€‌ confirms a source at the consortium, which is made up of HOEC (operator and 40%), Oil India (16%) and Indian Oil (44%). Two firm and two optional wells are planned near discovery well Dirok-I, where HOEC struck gas in February last year.

But HOEC and partners are waiting for the results of a 200-sq km 3D survey shot over the block by CGGVeritas earlier this year before finalising the exact locations of new appraisal wells. “Seismic is being processed by CGGVeritas,â€‌ we hear.

HOEC has covered the entire block with 3D except for populated and other areas above two coalfields. Depending on drilling results, the consortium may hire a workover rig to test the appraisal wells.

But that decision depends on the cost and availability of rigs at the time. HOEC began this appraisal phase in February last year after concluding Phase-III and it will run till 2011.

Also in February last year HOEC carried out a Drill Stem Test (DST) at Dirok-I covering about 17 metres in three zones out of a total 45 metres across eight gas bearing reservoir zones. HOEC said the test recorded an average gas flow of 6m cf/d (0.17m cm/d) from the three zones tested and approximately 75 b/d condensate through a 6.35-mm bean – indicating that “the discovery is of potential commercial interest.