Indian firm ONGC Videsh Limited, the contractor for the country’s two shallow sea blocks, plans to drill first exploratory well ‘Kanchan-1’ in shallow sea (SS) block-04 at Moheskhali in coming dry season, an official confirmed. The ONGC Videsh was scheduled to start drilling of its first exploratory well ‘Kanchan-1’ in March last which was later deferred. Now, they sat new timeframe in October-November next. The company signed a deal in February 2014 to explore the shallow sea blocks 4 and 9. It has already completed 3,010 line kilometres 2D seismic and 2540 line kilometres ocean bed cable seismic survey in two shallow sea blocks in the Bay of Bengal. “We are hopeful that the ONGC will its drill first exploratory well in Kanchan in the ensuing dry season,” Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur M Faizullah told daily sun on Sunday. He said the company will drill another well on block-9 despite poor prospects. The Indian firm earlier planned to drill an exploratory well on the onshore area under Block-4 in 2017 but the plan has been deferred. Now they will drill the well in the current dry season. The official also said as a portion of the shallow block stretches into the onshore land, the drilling of the well on the onshore land would not violate the model production sharing contract. The company has already sought 13 acres of land to drill the well at Moheskhali. The government has already allowed three companies including ONGC, Santos-Kriss Energy and Posco Daewoo Corporation for exploration of three shallow and a deep sea blocks out of the 26 offshore blocks in the Bay. State-owned Petrobangla signed a deal with joint venture Santos-Kriss Energy for drilling SS-11 in 2014. As per the deal, the company has already completed 3,200 line kilometres (2D) seismic survey. The company also started drilling 3D seismic survey in the Bay, an official said. Petrobangla also signed a deal with Posco Daewoo in March 2017 for drilling the deep sea (DS) block-12. The company will conduct 3D seismic survey in the coming dry season. Petrobangla has taken a five-year project to drill 108 wells on onshore blocks. But the drilling of the wells become costlier as state-owned Bapex allowed foreign firms to drill the wells at three times higher than the usual cost of Bapex. For lack of prospects from onshore and offshore blocks due to poor exploration activities, the government has been planning to import costly LNG by setting up series of floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) and land-based terminals. Petrobangla is has been using rationing system in gas supply to different categories of consumers due to a shortfall in supply of natural gas.