Petrogas prepares to drill offshore Mumbai

Vol 14, PW 5 (26 Aug 10) Exploration & Production

Oman-based Petrogas is gearing up to begin a three-well drilling programme at its 741-sq km offshore Mumbai block MB-OSN-2004/2.

PETROWATCH learns Petrogas has issued a Letter of Intent to Chennai-based Indian driller Aban Offshore to hire jack-up Aban-VII - currently with Total in the Middle East - for the drilling programme, expected to begin in December this year. “Only a few minor points need to be ironed out before the contract is signed,” we hear.

“By mid-September the situation should become clearer.” Aban told the Mumbai Stock Exchange in July that it had received a LoI from a company – later identified as Petrogas – for a three ‘firm’ well and ‘one’ optional well contract over 120 days, beginning December 2010, estimated to be worth $10.5m (Rs50cr), or $87,000/day including costs.

Located 150-km south of the giant Mumbai High and 70-km east of the Heera oil and gasfield, Petrogas is approaching its drilling programme with trepidation, “a mixture of hope and despair”, according to a source. “Despair because ONGC drilled three wells with nothing great to show,” we hear, “but hope because exploration can’t be done without hope!” Underway is in-house interpretation of ‘blanket’ 3D shot at the NELP-VI block by Fugro last May and processed by CGGVeritas.

“By the end of November,” adds a source, “Petrogas should finalise its three drilling locations.” Each of the wells will most likely be drilled to ‘basement’.

“It is difficult to say how deep they will be drilled,” we are told, “and how much time each will take.” But Petrogas is believed to be targeting ‘Paleocene’ era sediments.

Petrogas operates this block with 20% and is in the third year of the four-year Phase-I exploration period, which ends in May 2011. Partners GAIL, IOC, HPCL and GSPC each hold 20% also.