Geopetrol begins corehole drilling at Sohagpur

Vol 14, PW 17 (24 Feb 11) Exploration & Production

After a four-month delay, Monaco-based Geopetrol has begun an eight-corehole CBM drilling programme in the Sohagpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

PETROWATCH learns Geopetrol began drilling the first corehole at its SP (N)-CBM-2005/III block on February 8, using a Kores-manufactured corehole-drilling rig from Gurgaon-based South West Pinnacle. “We’ve hired the rig to drill eight coreholes,” confirms a company source.

Each corehole will be drilled to 1000 metres TD, he adds, and should take up to 30 days to drill. Canadian service contractor Scintrex has been hired by Geopetrol to carry out logging work at Sohagpur, we hear, while Delhi-based Total CBM solutions will test the corehole samples.

Geopetrol operates this 609-sq km CBM-III block with a 10% stake and originally planned to drill the first corehole by the end of September last year. It blames the delay on Anil-Ambani controlled companies Reliance Energy and Reliance Natural Resources, which hold a combined 90% stake in Sohagpur and are responsible for all major expenditure decisions.

But an Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) source says the Madhya Pradesh government is the one really at fault. “We received the PEL (Petroleum Exploration License) back in August, 2008,” we are told.

“But Madhya Pradesh took its own sweet time granting us permission to drill. There were no other reasons for the delay.

” Geopetrol and ADAG also plan to begin drilling coreholes at two other CBM-III blocks at Barmer in Rajasthan: 1168-sq km block BS (4)-CBM-2005/III block and 739-sq block km BS (5)-CBM-2005/III. The consortium secured a PEL to begin exploration at both the blocks on August 21, 2008.

Geopetrol, Reliance Energy and Reliance Natural Resources have yet to secure a PEL for their 750-sq km CBM-III block KG (E)–CBM-2005/III in Andhra Pradesh. The consortium signed PSCs for all CBM blocks on November 7, 2006 (see below).

Block Name Area PSC PEL Resource Consortium SP (N)-CBM-2005/III (Madhya Pradesh) 609-sq km 7 Nov 06 21 Aug 08 16.72-bcm REL (45%) RNRL (45%) Geopetrol (10% operator) KG (E)-CBM-2005/III (Andhra Pradesh) 750-sq km 7 Nov 06 T.B.

A 57.272-bcm REL (45%) RNRL (45%) Geopetrol (10% operator) BS (4)-CBM-2005/III (Rajasthan) 1168-sq km 7 Nov 06 21 Aug 08 82-bcm REL (45%) RNRL (45%) Geopetrol (10% operator) BS (5)-CBM-2005/III (Rajasthan) 739-sq km 7 Nov 06 21 Aug 08 38-bcm REL (45%) RNRL (45%) Geopetrol (10% operator)