Oil India gears up for Cauvery exploration

Vol 14, PW 12 (02 Dec 10) Exploration & Production

Oil India is gearing up to begin exploring its 1621-sq km NELP-VIII offshore block CY-OSN-2009/2 in Tamil Nadu, which is only the second offshore NELP block it has ever operated.

PETROWATCH learns Oil India invited Expressions of Interest (EoIs) on November 25 from seismic contractors to shoot 511-lkm of Phase-I committed 2D and 1621-sq km of Phase-I committed 3D at this Cauvery basin block. Interested contractors must submit EoIs by December 9 (next week).

“We want seismic contractors to submit EoI’s only for shooting and processing data,” an Oil India source clarifies. “We want the data interpreted by our ‘in-house’ team but could also hire a consultant to give us a second opinion (on the interpretation job).

” After it receives the EoIs, Oil India plans to issue a tender by January 2011 at the latest to shoot 2D and 3D. “Ideally, we want the selected contractor to mobilise equipment and shoot both 2D and 3D in the current season (which will last until May 2011),” we learn, “But we may be over-ambitious as there isn’t much time left.

” Oil India says it could then take up to a year to interpret the 2D and 3D data before identifying drilling locations for three exploration wells committed in Phase-I. By early 2012 it hopes to issue another tender for a jack-up to drill these committed exploration wells.

Oil India once operated the 5215-sq km NELP-I offshore block CY-OSN-97/2 located in the Palk Strait separating India and northern Sri Lanka, but it never received defence ministry permission to shoot 400-sq km of Phase-I 3D at that block and was forced to relinquish it. Hopefully, it will have better luck at CY-OSN-2009/2, which it operates with a 50% stake, while ONGC holds 50%.