Drilling at Satpayev Witnesses a Spectacular Launch

Kazakhstan holds about 4-5% of total world’s reserves of oil & gas in the Pre-Caspian Basin where ONGC Videsh acquired 25% stake in 2011 in the Satpayev Offshore block. This block spreads over an area of 1481 Sq. Km and located in the shallow waters of the northern part of Caspian Sea. The geological and geophysical surveys indicated good prospects in the block. Two exploratory locations for drilling were released. The first and foremost hurdle was finding a suitable rig which could drill in shallow water depths as low as 4-9 m. Various options were explored for finding out of suitable drilling rig and finally successfully negotiated with BKE Shelf for arranging of rig JDR “Astra” in January 2015 with an assured drilling commitment from 1st July 2015.

The occasion found resonance when Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi and HE Mr. Karim Massimov, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, agreed to formally launch the drilling of first exploratory well STP-1 at Satpayev block on 7th July 2015.

2. Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Karim Massimov Congratulating each other

Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Karim Massimov congratulating each other


After a brief introduction by the Hon’ble Minister for Investment and Development, Mr. Asset Issekeshev, Kazakhstan and the Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan Mr. Harsh Kumar Jain, the screen projected the “Astra” helideck at STP-1 location with General Director, SOLLP, Mr. S T Orzhanov and Dy. General Director (Geology), Mr. A K Pahi- the ONGC Videsh nominee at SOLLP management. They were surrounded by a mix of Indian and Kazakh Rig team members waving the two national flags.

The drilling program of the well STP-1 was formally launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Kazakhstan during Business meeting attended by 40 members Business delegation from both countries including Dr. Anil Bhandari, Director (Exploration), ONGC Videsh, through live Telebridge on 7th July 2015 by pressing a button on their i-pads, setting immediate connections with the rig at the offshore site in Caspian Sea setting into motion the rotary table. The Business Forum was addressed by Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Karim Massimov. This was followed by exchange of MoUs in the area of Energy, Infrastructure, Information Technology and Finance as a strong Indo-Kazakh Partner relationship.

Dr Anil Bhandari, Director Exploration ONGC Videsh present on the historic moment

Dr Anil Bhandari, Director Exploration ONGC Videsh present on the historic moment


Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, underlining the significance of technology, mentioned in his speech that it is through technology that we have been able to witness the launch of drilling operation at Offshore Caspian Sea.

This set the tone for an excellent Indo-Kazakh partnership against which there were talks about potential partnership between the two nations. Hon’ble Prime Minister, Mr. Modi, stressed the natural partnership in the area of hydrocarbon between the two nations and emphasized that there was immense potential waiting to be explored between the two nations.

A jubilant Mr AK Pahi, Dy. General Director (Geology), the ONGC Videsh nominee in the Satpayev Project

A jubilant Mr AK Pahi, Dy. General Director (Geology), (left) the ONGC Videsh nominee in the Satpayev Project along with team members


The event was a result of successful coordination between Indian Embassy at Astana , Ministry of Oil & Gas Kazakhstan, ONGC Videsh, KazMunayGas & Satpayev Operating LLP, Kaznex Invest and others associated with the event. It was indeed a moment of honour and pride for ONGC Videsh Ltd. to see Satpayev block assume a central focus at the summit level!

4. The Indo-Kazakh Summit Members

The Indo-Kazakh summit members with the Prime Minister