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Essar West Bengal CBM drilling approved

Essar Oil Ltd., Mumbai, has received environmental clearance to drill 58 pilot-production wells to develop coalbed methane reserves near the town of Durgapur in West Bengal, India.

The company had proposed to drill 90 wells on the 500-sq-km Raniganj East CBM Block RG(E)-CBM-2001/1, in which it holds 100% interest. The block is in the Damodar Valley coal field.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests excluded 32 of the proposed wells because locations are in a forest.

Before the approval, Essar Oil estimated peak production at 3.5 million cu m/d. It estimates proved and probable reserves at 201 bcf.

The drilling will occur on 45 sq km in a second phase of work. The first phase included 120 line-km of high resolution seismic survey and the drilling of 12 core holes and 15 test wells, according to government documents.

In addition to the 58 approved wells, the second phase includes the construction of a gathering station and a 40 km pipeline between the gathering station and Durgapur.

Maximum drilling depth will be 1,000 m. A truck-mounted rig will use water-based mud for drilling down to 500 m and air mist drilling beyond 500 m.

Essar Oil estimates drilling costs at $630,000/well.


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