GSPC clashes with DGH over CB-ON/2

Vol 6, PW 6 (22 May 02) Exploration & Production

Gujarat Petroleum is on a collision course with the DGH over an 8-month extension request to its Phase-I Minimum Work Programme at Gujarat onshore block CB-ON/2.

According to the PSC, Phase-I for this block, where GSPC is operator, should end this week on 22nd May, but the Minimum Work Programme remains incomplete, through no fault of GSPC. Inexplicably, the DGH is closing its ears.

Frustrated, D.J Pandian of GSPC has written two letters to the DGH on 11th March and on 29th April blaming local red tape in Gujarat for his request for an extension.

Neither letter has been answered. Pandian said Gujarat authorities granted GSPC a Petroleum Exploration Licence forthe block on 23rd November on condition that it gets a No Objection Certificate from district collectors.

Yet the district collectors issued the NOCs on 1st and 5th January 2001 only - a full thirteen months later! Pandian wants these datesas "effective dates" for the block. No, says the DGH and on 11th February it ordered GSPC to respect 23rd November (date when the PEL was issued) as the "effective date" for the block.

Disappointed, GSPC now wants the oil ministry to let it rollover the Phase-I work programme into Phase-II and claims the PSC is on its side. According to GSPC, article 2.6 allows the consortium to send a notice to the government either terminating the contract or entering the next phase.

We learn a meeting is scheduled on 31st May with DGH to finally sort out the issue.