New Delhi: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has encountered natural gas in the first exploration well it spud in more than five years on the flagging natural gas fields in KG-D6 block to supplement falling output with new reserves.
The MJ-1 exploration well on the Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields in the KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block has sniffed natural gas while drilling, sources privy to the development said.
The drilling, they said, has not yet been completed and the company will decide on testing the natural gas found once the well reaches target depth by this weekend.
The well is being drilled over 2 km deeper than, and directly beneath, the producing D1&D3 fields in the block.
Sources said the resource found may be significantly more than RIL's a pre-drill best case gross prospective resource of 819 billion cubic feet of gas and 56 million barrels of liquids for the well.
The well is targeting a Mesozoic synrift clastic reservoir, similar to the producing MA oil and gas field in the same block.
RIL had drilled MJ-1 well in early March after the government permitted companies to drill exploration wells in areas where exploration period had long expired.
Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) gas fields, the largest among the 18 gas finds on KG-D6 block, have proved to be more difficult to produce than previously predicted. RIL has drilled the probe well on the fields to study reservoir characteristic, sources said.
D1&D3 reservoir has seen sharper-than-expected drop in pressure and water and sand ingress in production wells, leading to a drop in output.
The fields have seen output fall from 53-54 million cubic metre per day achieved in March, 2010 to about 12 mscmd this month. Together with less than 6 mscmd output from MA oilfield in the same block, KG-D6 is producing about 17 mscmd.
MJ-1 well will probe the Mesozoic synrift clastic reservoir lying below the D1-D3 (Pliocene) Mining Lease area.
While RIL is the operator of KG-D6 block with 60 percent interest, UK's BP Plc holds 30 percent and Niko has the remaining 10 percent.
Sources said RIL had more than a year back proposed to drill the MJ-1 well but permission for that came this year.
The approval came with the riders that the cost of such wells will not be allowed to be recovered unless it leads to a commercial oil and/or gas discovery.
Sources said RIL and its partners will invest USD 350-450 million in the KG-D6 block in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 and USD 400-500 million in the year to March 31, 2015.
The investments include expansion of water handling and compression facility at D1&D3 fields, additional gas production well and compressor modification on the MA field and drilling of the MJ-1 prospect.