Essar Wildcat to drill another Vietnam well

Vol 14, PW 7 (23 Sep 10) Exploration & Production

Essar Oilfield Services-owned semisubmersible Essar Wildcat will continue working, irrespective of a legal case involving the rig filed against ONGC in the Delhi High Court.

PETROWATCH learns a team from Essar visited Vietnam last week where local operator Vietsovpetro wants Wildcat to drill at least one more offshore well in addition to the one it is working on. Essar signed a $40m contract in May with Vietsovpetro for one ‘firm’ well offshore Vietnam to be drilled in 130-metres water depth to 4800 metres TD.

Vietsovpetro reached the targeted formation at 4000 metres last week and is expected to begin testing the well in a day or two. It could complete the firm well by the end of September, we learn.

Essar and Vietsovpetro have “mutually agreed” that the rig will begin work soon after on another ‘optional’ well located just a kilometre away from the firm well in similar water depth. “Most jack-ups aren’t comfortable at this depth (130-metres),” says an Essar source.

“But it’s just right for a semisubmersible.” Vietsovpetro, he adds, plans to drill the optional well to 4000 metres TD and to finish it by next January.

After that, Vietsovpetro could retain Wildcat for three other optional wells if Essar consents. “If all options are exercised,” we are told, “Wildcat could have work for the next two years.

” This is good news for Essar as the Delhi High Court has yet to decide on its case brought against ONGC for scrapping and reissuing a semisubmersible tender where Wildcat was lowest bidder. ONGC wanted to scrap the tender hoping to avoid controversy after Essar’s close competitor Transocean accused it of favouritism.

But this backfired! On August 31, the court issued a ‘stay order’ against the planned retender and the next hearing is set for October 19. Few expect a decision any time soon but Essar isn’t worried as Wildcat will be gainfully employed, regardless.

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