Geopetrol to drill coreholes at CBM block

Vol 14, PW 2 (15 Jul 10) Exploration & Production

Monaco-based Geopetrol will begin an eight-corehole CBM drilling programme in the Sohagpur district of Madhya Pradesh this September.

PETROWATCH learns Geopetrol is in advanced talks with Gurgaon-based drilling contractor South West Pinnacle to hire a CBM rig for the planned drilling programme at its 609-sq km CBM-III block SP (N)-CBM-2005/III, which it operates with a 10% stake in partnership with two Anil Ambani-controlled companies – Reliance Energy with 45% and Reliance Natural Resources with 45%. “We want to hire a rig as soon as possible,” confirms a consortium source, “so it can be mobilised to the site by end-September.

” Each corehole will be drilled to around 900 metres depth and should take 15 to 20 days. During bidding, Geopetrol and Reliance committed to drill eight coreholes in Phase-I, which expires this August, and five test wells and 15 pilot wells in Phase-II, which will last two and a half years.

Geopetrol sources tell us Reliance is to blame for the delayed exploration programme at this block. “We are a minority partner,” says Geopetrol.

“All decisions are taken by Reliance. They are spending most of the money.

” Reliance ADAG sources counter these allegations and blame the delay on problems with land acquisition and clearances from the Madhya Pradesh state government. The PSC for SP (N)-CBM-2005/III was signed on November 7, 2006 and the Madhya Pradesh state government granted a PEL on August 21, 2008.

Geopetrol and Reliance ADAG have stakes in three other CBM-III blocks: two in Rajasthan, BS (4)-CBM-2005/III and BS (5)-CBM-2005/III, and one in Andhra Pradesh, KG (E)-CBM-2005/III. Exploration programmes at the two Rajasthan blocks will begin soon after the corehole drilling programme ends at the Madhya Pradesh block.

Work in Andhra Pradesh is held up because the state government hasn’t yet issued a PEL.