OIL upbeat over Mizoram project - Exploratory drilling starts in 2012

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 29.08.11
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Dibrugarh, Aug. 28: Oil India Limited (OIL) is all set to explore and produce oil and natural gas in Mizoram after it received the “clearance to operate” from the state recently.

“We have received tremendous support from the Mizoram government and the people in general. We are hoping to find some significant hydrocarbon reserves in the state, as it falls under the same geological structure as that of Myanmar and Bangladesh, where large hydrocarbon reserves have been found,” OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika said.

He added that the oil major had received support from organisations like the Young Mizo Association during the three public hearings on environmental issues conducted by the Pollution Control Board.

Hazarika said OIL, with 85 per cent participating interest, and Shiv-Vani Oil and Gas Exploration Services, with 15 per cent, has signed a production-sharing contract with the government of India for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the exploration block MZ-ONN-2004/1 falling in the Lunglei, Aizawl, Serchhip and Mamit districts of Mizoram under NELP-VI.

The contract designates OIL as the operator of the block, the total area of which is 3,213 square km. The capital city, Aizawl, lies 5km north of the northern boundary of the block.

“Exploratory drilling has not been carried out at any place in the block so far. Acquisition, processing and interpretation of two-dimensional seismic survey, gravity magnetic survey, geochemical survey has been done for the block MZ-ONN-2004/1 while three-dimensional surveys are in progress,” Hazarika said.

The company’s expectations are quite high given the fact that official data released by the Centre states that the block has huge hydrocarbon reserves of around 170 million tonnes. At present, the company is producing around 4 million tonnes of crude per annum from its Assam operations.

OIL is planning to carry out exploratory drilling and testing at five promising locations within the block areas during phase I (within 2012) and at another location by 2015. This will be done in accordance with the minimum work programme outlined in the production-sharing contract, with an aim to ascertain the techno-economic viability of hydrocarbon production in the block area for an eight-year period (2007-2015).

Hazarika, however, said the drilling of wells in Mizoram would cost almost four times more in comparison with the drilling cost in Assam, basically because of the lack of proper roads and the tough geographical terrain of the state.

According to an estimate, the company is going to spend around Rs 500 crore to drill the first five wells in the state.

“The days of easy oil are over across the globe. One has to be prepared to take very strong measures to strike hydrocarbon reserves today,” Hazarika said.