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Cairn India Limited

Exploration Excellence from Frontiers to Mature Basins

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s

Energy for India

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s


Cairn India employs an entrepreneurial strategy of using appropriate leadingedge technology to search for commercial hydrocarbons by drilling high risk but high reward wells on prospective structures in and around India. The key tools used by the company are seismic data, including novel acquisition, processing and interpretation, integrated geological evaluation, basin modelling to predict hydrocarbon generation, migration and charge distribution, and petrophysical evaluation of well data. The company invests extensively in developing high quality in house technical capabilities, buidling expert knowledge and implementing new technology. Additionally, Cairn has a sharp focus on the best Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) practice, ensuring the safety of employees, the integrity of the business, and the environment in which we work.

an enviable track record of successful oil and gas exploration including more than 40 discoveries in the last 10 years, building an acknowledged exploration success ratio that exceeds 50%. As a result, Cairn India boasts an extensive resource base across 10 blocks in India and is the operator of the first licenced acreage in Sri Lanka. Underlying this exploration success is the belief in “drill bit exploration�; the company has drilled 181 exploratory and appraisal wells versus 56 obligation wells in 10 years resulting in more than 25 discoveries made so far in Rajasthan, providing oil in place of 3.6bn barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Indeed, 3 of the 7 landmark discoveries made in India since 2000 have been made by Cairn.

Cairn India Limited

Cairn is an established major long term exploration player in India with

Purpose-built, mobile, low cost drilling rig exploring in the desert of Rajasthan

HSE in action, safely shooting land seismic with the acquisition-explosives team and flag man

3 E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s Cairn India Limited

Cairn India Exploration Portfolio and Producing Assets (MB-DWN-2009/1 and KG-OSN-2009/3 provisionaly awarded under NELP VIII)

Cairn India Limited

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s


In January 2004, Cairn discovered the largest onshore oil field in India since 1985 – the Mangala Field in Rajasthan followed by the Bhagyam and Aishwariya oil fields. These three fields have a combined oil in place of more that 2 billion boe. Exploration is inherently associated with risk and uncertainty. Determining the probability of success of an exploration well is based on a comprehensive understanding of the petroleum system in the basin and the associated geological risk. In the first instance, access to regional proprietry databases and high resolution seismic has been a significant factor in Cairns success story. Over the years Cairn has invested in georeferenced regional gravity, magnetic and seismic data sets, and has used these to create regional models of basin distribution and evolution through time. These databases are calibrated to local data acquired by Cairn India and used as a front-end exploration screening tool and linked to plate tectonic reconstructions of basin evolution. The company’s knowledge of depth to basement across all the key petroleum basins in India and of basin fill evolution is unrivalled in India. Similarly, our investment at the basin scale in seismic imaging and optimised seismic acquisition and processing parameterisation has provided world class subsurface imaging. High resolution seismic, combined with appropriate coring and reservoir description provides our subsurface teams with the ability

Cairn India exploration acreage in Rajasthan overlain on high resolution gravity anomaly data. Regional faults shown in white

An image from a regional exploration tool unique to Cairn India-showing integrated gravity-magnetic-modelled depth to basement imaging of basin distribution. Basin in blue colour, basement in red and yellow


deltaic deposits. Emerging plays in the Barmer Basin include stratigraphic traps in post-rift sequences and deep water depositional systems in the KG basin and Sri Lanka. The overall exploration strategy is to maximise resource additions from key assets with a focus on high impact exploration. With 10 existing blocks, a growing portfolio including 2 new NELP VIII provisional awards (subject to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas approval), Cairn India explores across a range of operating environments (onshore to deep water) and has established a remarkable track record of success. Our current major activities include 1450 km2 of deep water 3D seismic acquisition in Sri Lanka leading to drilling of 3 exploratory wells in 2011,

w a t e r

Cairn India Limited

3D interpretation of an exploration prospect with integrated reflection seismic and coherence volume

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s

to generate high resolution, calibrated models of depositional facies, source rock distribution and seal properties. Cairn India has a current portfolio that includes a diversity of basins, plays and depositional environments.Exploration activity across the spread of frontier to proven, mature basins provides a balanced risk in the portfolio with significant upside but manifold opportunities in basins that are understood well. This is particularly the case in the Barmer Basin of Rajasthan where advanced basin analysis techniques have revealed several new unexplored plays in an extensional rift basin with more than 25 existing discoveries. Our historical exploration efforts have developed considerable expertise in rift basins with lacustrine sources and syn-rift reservoirs and passive extensional margins with marine and

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s



Breached Reservoir

Migration Pathway

Cairn India Limited

‘The prize’-high quality sandstone reservoir (top, thin section, middle, scanning electron micrograph) showing intergramular porosity. Bottom: Cairn India is a trend setter in the novel use of fluid inclusions to identify petroleum systems and (left ) fluid inclusions stratigraphy to interpret migration pathways and breached palaeo structures in dry wells


800 km2 of 3D seismic acquisition and drilling of 3 exploratory wells in the Palar block, a 5 well onshore exploration programme in the KG basin, and a rolling programme of onshore seismic acquisition and well drilling in Rajasthan.

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s

Integration: from seismic to core sample to 3D immersive visualisation, integration of critical data is characteristic of Cairn India’s exploration philosophy

To explore for hydrocarbons effectively, Cairn India embeds regional high resolution prediction of hydrocarbon phase and volume distribution in prospects from basin models, incorporating geological risks in the play, as a routine integrated part of its exploration activity. These models are based on an understanding of basin evolution and heat flow, stratigraphy and facies distributions. The models are calibrated with temperature data from wells, including palaeo-geothermometers, and a unique hydrocarbon shows database which includes present day and palaeo-hydrocarbon distributions from fluid inclusion stratigraphy.

Cairn India Limited

In many areas, particularly frontier basins, the data required to construct and calibrate models are scarce, and may have large inherent uncertainties. Thus, it is essential that basin modeling allows simulation


GIS-based depositional environment map showing facies distribution used as an input for basin modelling

of multiple ‘scenarios’ to ask ‘What if?’ questions, for investigating the sensitivity of petroleum systems to critical parameters or key unknowns – such as thermal history, source rock thickness, migration efficiency or trap leakage for examples. To do this effectively, Cairn India constructs basin models at an

In all cases, basin models are incomplete representations of the sub-surface, dependent upon the limited available inputs (minute in terms of basin volume), inadequacies of the numerical simulator used and the time available for model building. Confidence in model predictions arises from the stability of results in sensitivity studies. Statistical calculations performed on the output models test the sensitivity of the model to input variables. The probability distribution of oil and gas accumulations for hundreds of input parameter variations can then be calculated for each prospect to determine the best probability of success.

Cairn India Limited.

3D basin model (shown on a depth surface) predicting hydrocarbon migration pathways (green lines) and oil (green) and gas (red) accumulations

E x p l o r at i o n E x c e l l e n c e f r o m F r o n t i e r s t o M at u r e B a s i n s

early stage of its exploration project life cycle that capture the critical aspects of the geological system, runs multiple simulations, and incorporates results as probabilities into prospect evaluation. As an exploration area matures, more complex and ‘deterministic’ models can be constructed and calibrated to thermal, stratigraphical, geochemical and rock property data, as exemplified by our exploration success in the Barmer Basin of Rajasthan.

CAIRN INDIA LIMITED Cairn India is one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in India. It is headquartered in Gurgaon near Delhi and has material exploration and production positions in nine blocks in India and one in Sri Lanka. Cairn produces oil and gas from three blocks in India: Ravva in Andhra Pradesh, CB-OS/2 in the Cambay Basin in Gujarat and RJ-ON-90/1 in Rajasthan where it works in partnership with ONGC. In 2007, Cairn India was listed on the National and Bombay Stock Exchanges. Cairn has been operating in India for more than 15 years and has played an active role in developing the oil and gas resources in the country. The Mangala field, discovered in January 2004 near Barmer, Rajasthan and dedicated to the nation in August 2009 by the Prime Minister, the Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh, is the largest onshore oil discovery in India in more than 20 years. The Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya fields have recoverable oil reserves and resources of approximately 1 billion barrels. In total there have been more than 25 discoveries on the Rajasthan block and the company is focused on exploiting the full potential. Cairn India will account for more than 20 percent of India’s domestic crude oil production when the Rajasthan fields reach the current approved plateau production rate of 175,000 barrels of oil per day in 2011. Health, safety and the environment are integral to Cairn India’s business management and the company is committed to working with all stakeholders to deliver material growth.

Cairn India Exploration Excellence from Frontier to Mature Basins  
Cairn India Exploration Excellence from Frontier to Mature Basins Cairn India employs an entrepreneurial strategy of using appropriate leading edge technology to search for commer...