DULIAJAN, Oct 31 � Oil India Limited (OIL), nation�s second largest oil PSU, has achieved yet another milestone by commencing drilling in the African continent.
At 7:20 am (11:50 am IST), on October 28, the first well in Gabon (Well No Koungouleu-1, Loc SA) was spudded in after the traditional coconut breaking ceremony by the senior officials of OIL and Punj Lloyd Upstream Limited. The onshore block in Shakthi (G4-220) was obtained from the Government of Gabon for hydrocarbon exploration in April 2006 by forming a joint venture with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (45 pc) and Marvis (10 pc), Singapore in which OIL was the operator.
As a part of exploration activities aeromagnetic and seismic surveys (2D and 3D) were carried out and two locations were released in Shakthi Block for drilling in December 2011. Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa and located on the equator, states an OIL press comminique.
The wells are around 250 km from Libreville, the capital city of Gabon by road. Both the wells are vertical wells inside deep forest with depth 3460 m (Location SA) and 3200 m (Location SB) respectively. The primary target is N�Dombo Sandstone Formation and the secondary target is ForouePlage Formation. Both the wells will be drilled down to Basement. The first well is considered to be one of the deepest well in onshore Gabon.
It was a big challenge for the project to undertake drilling operations within the expiry of the Block Permit (21/11/2012). After the release of location in mid-December, 2011, the locations were stalked in deep forest with no communication facility and OIL personnel had to walk for the several miles in dark forest. Thereafter, it was a daunting task to commence drilling within 10-11 months. However, the project team took up this challenge and finalized all tenders through international competitive bidding in record time of 3 months.