Cairn to Invest $100-150 Mln in Rajasthan Discovery

Cairn Energy will invest $100 to 150 million in bringing to production the recent oil discovery in the Thar Desert, billed as India's largest onshore oil discovery in two decades.

While commercial production of crude oil from the N-B-1 well, which is estimated to hold 50-200 million barrel of reserves, will take three-and-half years, the firm plans to put into production two smaller fields, discovered earlier in the same Barmer block, in a year's time.

"Developing the N-B-1 oil find may take anything between $100 to 150 million," Cairn Energy chief executive Bill Gammell said after Petroleum Minister Ram Naik named the oil find as 'Mangala', meaning auspicious.

Last month, Cairn announced it found an estimated in- place reserves of between 450 million and 1.1 billion barrels of oil, of which 50 million to 200 million barrels can be recovered, in its Barmer block in Rajasthan. A test well showed a cumulative flow rate of 6,000 barrels a day.

Gammell said the company plans to drill three or four appraisal wells in the next few months in Rajasthan to "better understand the oil find."

Cairn Energy India chairman Philip Tracy said the earlier Raageshwari and Saraswati discoveries, estimated to hold about 14 million tons and 21 million tons of crude oil respectively, will be put on production in a year.

"Between the two, we expect to produce 1000 to 2000 barrels of oil per day," he said, adding the crude output from Mangala well would be much more than 10,000 barrels a day estimate previously announced.