IOC starts 3D seismic after 17-month wait

Vol 14, PW 19 (24 Mar 11) Exploration & Production

IndianOil has begun shooting 3D at its 199-sq km Cambay basin onland block CB-ONN-2005/7 after waiting 17 months for a Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) from Gujarat state authorities.

PETROWATCH learns Kazakhstan-based seismic contractor KCS, working with IOC joint venture IndianOiltanking, began the 3D campaign across the entire south Gujarat block earlier this month (March). "If all goes to schedule the 3D acquisition should be completed by October this year," says an IOC source.

He adds that KCS and IndianOiltanking worked through January and February to mobilise seismic survey equipment to the block, but began shooting 3D only this month. After 3D interpretation, we are told, IOC will begin drilling 10 exploration wells, as committed in its minimum work programme for this small 'S' type block.

IOC has high hopes for CB-ONN-2005/7, which it operates with a 100% stake, as the block is surrounded by the producing Pramoda and Pramoda South fields in HOEC-operated pre-NELP block CB-ON/7. Pramoda is producing around 200 b/d, while Pramoda South is producing around 70 b/d.

"Pramoda oil is light with an API of 40.5," we hear. IOC won CB-ONN-2005/7 in NELP-VII despite stiff competition, which saw 16 bids: from eight consortia, and eight independent companies, including Reliance.

IndianOil signed the PSC on December 22, 2008 and submitted its application for a PEL to the Gujarat government 15 days later. But IOC had to wait until May 31, 2010 before the PEL was issued.

Why the delay Blame it on "the heavy human population" within the block, which covers residential areas in Vadodara and Bharuch district. Mumbai-based Senes Consultants is also working at CB-ONN-2005/7 on an Environmental Impact Assessment study for IOC's proposed 10-well drilling programme under a contract awarded last September.