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May 7, 2019

Final phase of drilling at Kekra-1 continues

National

May 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: At last the drilling at Kekra-1 well in G-bloc, Pakistan’s ultra-deep sea has begun after a long pause of over almost 23 days and entered the final phase by reaching the depth of 5,148 meters and will reach at the required depth of 5,460 meters within days, a senior official told The News.

The joint venture headed by ENI is operator comprising Exxon Mobile, OGDCL and PPL started the drilling on January 13, 2019 at the cost of sunk money of $75 million, which has increased to $90 million so far.

When the drilling reaches the depth of 5,460 meters, the official said, the operator will likely do wire line logging which could take another three or four days. This will likely be followed by another casing and cementing exercise that can take four to six 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.

Spokesman for the Petroleum Division Additional Secretary Sher Afgan confirmed that the drilling has entered the final phase and reached the depth of 5,148 meters and only 312 meter is left to be spudded as it has to reach almost 5,500 meters. He said after reaching the required depth the operator will get the specimen that will be sent to Italy for information if there is a reservoir of oil and gas in the well or not.

The last snag hit the drilling when the blowout preventer (BOP) that prevents from any blow out or any kick pressure that can result into eruption of fire, had gone out of order and its repair took some days and then its testing took the reasonable time. Before it, the drilling stopped on April 8 because of the cementation and casing continued owing to which the drilling could not start.

So far the drilling witnessed many upheavals starting from January 2019 up till now and it has got delayed by one month as it was earlier scheduled to get completed by April end which is now rescheduled up to the middle of May at the maximum.

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.

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 because of 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 which is still underway and may reach at the required depth within days.

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