Hindustan Oil Exploration Company Ltd (HOEC) will conduct an onshore appraisal drilling programme in its Assam block AAP-ON-94/1 by March 2010, IndianPetro reported. HOEC plans to drill around four appraisal wells (two firm and two optional wells) in the block. A 2000-HP land rig capable of drilling upto 3,500 meters is being hired for the exploration programme.

The petroleum ministry has recently communicated its approval for an appraisal drilling to the operator. An environmental Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has already approved the multi-well project.

HOEC holds a 40% exploration share and 27% development share in the acreage. Late last year, it was given an ex-post facto extension of more than two months from November 29, 2007 to January 8, 2008 for exploration activities in the block on account of statutory delays.

HOEC (the operator) had requested for extension of third phase in November 2009 on account of postponements in getting environmental clearance. But when the exploration division of the petroleum ministry examined the issue in February, 2008, it quickly turned down the proposal.