ONGC Might be Allowed to Drill at KS-8 After All

ONGC might after all be allowed to drill well KS-8 in the Sir Creek area on the sensitive maritime border between India and Pakistan. But only if the Ministry of External Affairs is convinced it won't strain relations with Islamabad.

PETROWATCH learns that the MEA is planning a meeting with oil ministry and ONGC officials to discuss the issue. "No date has been fixed," reveals a source. "But ONGC has been told to come with all the relevant maps."

MEA officials agreed to re-examine the KS-8 proposal following a revelation by oil secretary Sushil Tripathi that Total of France had already drilled on the Pakistani side. "If we delay exploration the oil and gas could migrate to Pakistan," Tripathi tells this report. "It is like Tripura gas being exploited by Bangladesh. The reservoir is common. It won't be long before all the gas in Tripura shifts to Bangladesh." Says ONGC: "We will keep the drillship Belford Dolphin ready to sail into Sir Creek at short notice."

Separately, ONGC has appointed leading UK upstream consultant Fugro Robertson (previously Robertson Research International) to do a thorough and exclusive analysis of the structures in the Kutch offshore basin. "The consultants were given a Letter of Intent last week and were supposed to start work on November 1st," ONGC tells this report.

"Their scientists are expected to reach Kutch offshore within a week." ONGC has retained Fugro Robertson for a five-month program and a fee of about Rs3cr ($652,000).

Fugro Robertson is expert in petroleum basin data analysis and equipped to provide in-depth knowledge of various types of plays and traps likely to be present in any given structure. By end-November ONGC hopes to re-deploy deepwater drillship Belford Dolphin in the Kutch offshore area to complete drilling of a suspended well in KS-1 location. "The drillship will also exploit channel levy complex plays in another location, also in the KS-1 area," adds ONGC.

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