Thursday, July 03, 2008

cairn to begin exploration in Bihar after monsoon

Patna, July 3 (IANS) Energy major Cairn India will begin the next phase of oil and natural gas exploration in Bihar after the monsoon, a company official said Thursday. The first proposed exploration well will be drilled in Darbhanga district, about 200 kilometres from Patna, with a rig contracted from American oilfield services provider Weatherford International, the official said.

The Houstan-based Weatherford International develops and supplies mechanical solutions, technology applications and services for all phases of oil and gas development. It operates in over 100 countries.

Cairn officials said the company has collected seismic data including information from an airborne geomagnetic survey of the block and two-dimensional seismic data over the past two years.

About 4.5 hectares of land has been provided in Darbhanga district for exploration.

Over 2,000 rock and soil samples are currently being analysed.

The administration has served notices to those whose land has been temporarily acquired, and the compensation payment process is underway.

The drill site construction will include the building of about 800 metres of approach road, a camp site and the well site.

The onshore block in northern Bihar was awarded under a production-sharing contract (PSC) by the centre in 2004. The block is in the Ganga Basin, one of the largest sedimentary basins in India but under-explored; to date, no commercial quantities of hydrocarbons have been discovered.

As per the PSC, Cairn India has a seven-year exploration period comprising three phases, which commenced from the issue of the Petroleum Exploration Licence in June 2005.

As operator of the PSC, Cairn India holds a 50 percent interest in this block, with its joint venture partner Cairn Energy PLC holding the remaining 50 percent interest through its subsidiary Capricorn Energy Ltd.