exploration with Gazprom

Mumbai: The consortium comprising GAIL (India) Limited and Gazprom Russia has finalised the plan for the acquisition of seismic data off the east coast of India. The survey campaign in Block 26 will start in March, this year, and is expected to be completed before the onset of the monsoons. The consortium was awarded the block in the Bengal offshore location in the first round of NELP.

The area for 3D survey has been selected after extensive geo-technical studies, special seismic data processing and its interpretation. The 3D seismic survey vessel is expected to reach Indian waters by early March 2004.

The seismic study will facilitate in strengthening the portfolio of prospects and their ranking to decide the location of the first well. The consortium expects to start the drilling post-monsoon. The expected target depth of 6500 metres will make it the deepest well drilled so far in any offshore block of India.

Speaking on the prospects of the block, Proshanto Banerjee, chairman and managing director, GAIL (India) Limited said, "We are optimistic about the prospects of finding significant gas in Block 26. This will also positively influence the gas supply scenario from the east coast of the country."

GAIL and Gazprom have an equal participating interest in the Block 26 exploration. The expenditure for Phase II is estimated to be to the tune of USD 25-30 million, which includes about USD 5 million for the exploration commencing shortly. This is the first time that Gazprom, the largest gas company in the world, is investing in India.