ONGC Brings Out Big Boys, Aban II /Deep Sea Matdrill, for Bengalese Block

The first three months of the year will be busy ones for the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). According to a report in Hindu Business Line, ONGC will begin drilling three wells from January to March in the Bengal offshore block WB-OSN-2000/1.

The report states further that ONGC has mobilized two jackup rigs, Aban II and Deep Sea Matdrill, for operations during the project.

In a 2006 drilling attempt, ONGC had drilled a dry well while targeting deeper objects. The dry well came amidst a host of problems that have plagued ONGC during their Bengal block campaign.

The problems in the Mahanadi basin came to a climax with the unavailability of a drill ship in 2006, which caused an indefinite postponement to operations. However, drilling in the area had been problematic from the onset of operations.

In March 2005, ONGC attempted to drill four exploratory wells in the Bengalese block over a two-year period. Copious technical problems, including poor restraints used for a rig relocation, resulted in a regulatory termination of the drilling campaign in March 2006. At that time, ONGC had only finished drilling one of the four proposed exploratory wells, falling well short of the success for which ONGC had hoped.

Because of the slow progress in exploration, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons had refused extensions for drilling in the block in early 2006, which led to a one-and-a-half year hiatus.

Now, with Aban II and Deep Sea Matdrill converging on their respective locations, ONGC is set to begin, once again, its explorations in the area.

The announcement comes one day after a report that ONGC had discovered gas for the third time in the Mahanadi basin, a block in which ONGC holds 100% interest. The first gas discovery came in December 2006.