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April 20, 2019

Kekra-1 well: Drilling to restart today after 12-day pause


April 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Almost after pause of 12 days, the drilling that was stalled on April 8 at the depth of 4,810 meter at Kekri-1 well in the country’s ultra-deep sea is ready to restart today (April 20), as cementing job followed by casing has completed, a senior official at Petroleum Division told The News.

After the process of cementation, the lining was imperative to secure the cementing completed from any untoward incident and more importantly, the lining (casing) process has also completed. Now the Mobile Exxon with ENI as operator at Kekra-1 well is all set to restart today the drilling of the remaining 650-800 meters under second side tracking.

“This would substantially reduce the risks of the operator not completing the well in the current weather window,” the said. Kekra-1 well has now entered a phase where the operator will, for the first time, begin to receive information that would help in determining the well prospects. This would include results from LWD (Logging While Drilling), Salinity Testing, potential hydrocarbon traces in mud and rock samples and hydrocarbon kicks.

Time required to drill the remaining depth will depend upon the Rate of Penetration (RoP). The penetration rate is significantly slower for northern region of Pakistan, than the southern region.

“We don’t yet have precedents to form a reliable estimate for the RoP for Offshore Indus – G, where Kekra-1 is being drilled. An RoP of 10 meters per hour (generally considered low) would mean that it would take 80 hours or a little more than 3 days to reach the target depth.”

After completion of drilling, the operator will likely do wire line logging which could take another 3-4 days. This will likely be followed by another casing and cementing exercise that can take 4-6 days. At this stage, a substantial amount of information regarding the well prospects will be known, however, the results (discovery or dry well) will require completion of proper testing.

Now the ENI which is the operator at Kekra-1 well is also facing the major threat of tide season which may mar the whole spudding process and it will have to complete the drilling process earlier.

The drilling was initiated with 19 percent probabilities, which, according to the experts, get reduced when side tracking starts taking place. In Kekra-1 well case, second side tracking was underway. Officials said when side tracking process is initiated, this means that first plan of drilling was not well worked out.

It is interesting to note that earlier when at Kekra well vertical drilling reached at depth of 4,799 meters on February 21, a high pressure was felt causing huge mud loss and becauseof unsafe operation the well was plugged by March 23. Then the first side tracking started and when it reached down to 3,100 meters, it again met failure, which is why the hole was also blocked. After that the second side tracking began.

According to experts, the side tracking means that the first plan to drill the well was not well-thought-out and worked-out. Under the new timeline, the drilling under second tracking is to go down up to 5,460 meters deep by April end. However, the official still fear the delay on account of cementation, spudding process may enter in the month of May which will be detrimental as in this month seas turns very rough.

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