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OIL – Current E&P themes in India


The second-largest NOC in India, Oil India Ltd (OIL) has revealed some of its current E&P themes in India. Domestically, it has a large footprint, and is present in 44 blocks (22,647 sq km) and is bidding strongly in the latest OALP and DSF offerings. In 2018, it was awarded 9 blocks as operator under the first round of OALP, including seven blocks in the Assam-Arakan region, and two in Rajasthan. In the ongoing Discovered Small Fields second round (DSF-II) it has bid on three more assets in the region (Umatara, Disai, and Tipuk) as well as five in other basins in India.

Fig 1 – India blocks by company

Fig 1 – India blocks by company

OIL’s core production (and technical headquarters) is in the Assam-Arakan Region in North-East India. Fields are for the most part mature, but OIL has succeeded in maintaining its Reserves Replacement Ration at > 100%. Domestic 2P reserves are most recently cited at 78.67 MMt oil and 127.59 Bcm gas. Advanced secondary and tertiary recovery methods are being used to maximise production.

In the Assam-Arakam region, OIL notes that it will be re-mobilizing drilling in the Ningru PML (petroleum mining lease), which is one of those awarded in OALP-1. The PML contains the Kumchai oil field, with an estimated OOIP of 94 MMb and GIIP of 4055 MMscm. Production is to be pushed from a current 130 bo/d and 0.035 MMscm/d to 800 bo/d and 0.2 MMscm/d.

In the Baghjan field in the pre-NELP Baghjan Block, special authorization has been obtained from MoPNG and the Ministry of Forests to drill a number of extended reach wells under the Dibru-Saikhowa national park, on the banks of the Dangori River (a tributary of the Brahmaputra River). The surface location will be well-pads already established within the block, to the south of the park. The plan is to drill seven ERD wells to extract oil from around 4000m. Targeted resources are 10 MMt in-place, and 3 MMt recoverable. Well costs are estimated at Rs 40 crore each including completion. OIL expects to complete this programme by the end of FY 2021-2022 and to raise production by a meaty 4,000 bo/d.

Fig 2 - Assam-Arakam region

Fig 2 – Assam-Arakam region

The Baghjan structure was identified in 1991 based on limited seismic data and later re-defined based on additional 2D seismic of 1999-2000. The presence of commercial hydrocarbon in the area was first established in the first well (Baghjan-1) in 2003. Two sands within the Lakadong+Therria formation (Early Eocene) produced gas with a minor amount of light oil/condensate.

The latest exploration discovery in the block was South Baghjan-2 well which encountered 15 m of pay in multiple sands in the Narpuh and Lakadong-Therria formations at a depth of 4,154 m. The well, completed in May 2017, produced 100 cu m/day of oil.

The Baghjan PML was awarded in 2003 and currently runs until 2023.

OIL’s strategy for reaching its own production targets and meeting the government’s aspirations (as expressed in “Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast India”) is through intensive exploitation of its current producing areas, and enhanced exploration activities (presumably, in the the 2017 OALP-1 awards). It is also lobbying government to be re-allocated relinquished nomination (pre-NELP) blocks upon expiry.

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