Shale gas well finally completed by ONGC

Vol 14, PW 14 (13 Jan 11) Exploration & Production

More than three months after it was spud, ONGC on January 2 finally completed India’s first shale gas exploration well at Ichapur village in the Raniganj coal block in West Bengal.

PETROWATCH learns ONGC drilled well RNSG-1 to 2000-metres TD and finished ‘logging’, ‘casing’ and ‘cementing’. ONGC originally wanted to spud this well on September 21 last year, using a 1000-hp rig from Essar Oilfield Services.

But tantrums and roadblocks staged by local political leaders, belonging to both West Bengal’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the main opposition Trinamool Congress, delayed the spud date to September 26. Further protests by these leaders, who wanted ONGC to hire dozens of their party members for simple jobs like unloading cement bags, once again forced work to cease for a mind-numbing 21 days.

“It was a total nightmare!” reports a source. “If these protests hadn’t happened we could have completed the well within a month!” ONGC says it also had to slow down drilling because well RNSG-1 is located at the site of an old CBM well that it had earlier ‘fractured’.

“Production from this CBM well was stopped so as not to ‘kill’ it,” he adds. “When we drilled we encountered ‘losses’ and took time to control the well.

That took an extra week.” Logging and coring also took longer than usual as, “it’s difficult to take core samples at 100-metres.

” All the logs and core samples have now been sent to a Schlumberger facility in the US for analysis. “Once the (Essar) rig moves out next week,” we hear, “we’ll move the ‘frac plate’ and testing equipment to the well location.

But first we need to finish some basic civil work, a three-day job.” ONGC is currently busy completing and finalising the ‘frac design’ and engineering programme for ‘perforation’, ‘hydrofracturing’ and ‘testing’ based on a ‘partial core analysis’ and ‘logs’.

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