IndianOil gears up to begin Cambay drilling

Vol 14, PW 16 (10 Feb 11) Exploration & Production

IndianOil is expected to begin drilling at its Cambay basin block CB-ONN-2005/2 by September this year.

PETROWATCH learns state-owned IOC wants a 1200 or 1500-hp onland rig with a 'rotary/top drive system' for the proposed four-well drilling programme estimated to cost Rs170cr ($36.59m). "If all goes to plan we hope to spud the first well in September," confirms IOC.

"But we have yet to begin the process of hiring a drilling contractor." IOC plans to spend Rs34cr ($7.3m) to drill each of the four 'firm' wells to 3400 metres TD. It could also drill another 'optional' well to the same depth.

This small 'S' type block measures 77.68-sq km, of which 49-sq km lies in the Bechraji area of Gujarat's Mehsana district, while 28.68-sq km lies in the Chanasma area of Patan district. Public hearings to approve IOC's drilling programmes in Chanasma and Bechraji were called by state government authorities on January 28 and January 29 and were attended by local villagers and farmers.

Several of the assembled villagers asked if they would get jobs at the drilling locations and raised queries about whether the drilling work would damage the local environment or the livelihoods of farmers. However, both drilling programmes were finally approved by the villagers and environmental clearances were also granted by local authorities as no 'reserve forest', 'protected forest', 'open forest' or 'planted forest' lies anywhere in the area.

Shiv Vani subsidiary Max Tech is expected to complete shooting 3D at this NELP-VII block in north Gujarat by next month, a job it was originally meant to complete by the end of June last year. IOC is planning to hire another company soon to process this 3D and also plans to carry out a 'magnetotelluric' survey to "detect variations in subsurface structures."