Essar Oilfields Services is in the process of procuring six on-shore drilling rigs for coal bed methane (CBM) at a cost of about $36 million. These rigs have greater mobility as required in CBM drilling, as they have to be quickly moved from one well to another.
It is also learnt that these rigs earn 10-15 per cent less daily hire charges compared to onshore oil and gas drilling rigs. But the asset cost is made up by the volume of work available.
The company is buying rigs at a time when several CBM projects are coming up in India. It is learnt that of the six rigs, the firm already bought two and the remaining are scheduled for delivery from the US during the year.
Industry sources feel that firms like Essar Oil, ONGC, Reliance Industries may drill at least 500 CBM wells this year. Essar Oil alone has got four blocks for CBM exploration, with plans to take up 300 wells this year. It is estimated that India would require at least 25 rigs to meet the demand.