NELP-VIII awards cleared by ECS

Vol 13, PW 15 (14 Jan 10) News in Brief

Hopes are high the government will sign PSCs for 36 of 70 exploration blocks from NELP-VIII by the end of this month.

This follows approval of DGH recommendations during a meeting of the Empowered Committee of Secretaries on January 11. No date has been fixed for a signing ceremony, as the PSCs must first be vetted by the law ministry before their final endorsement by the all-powerful Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

But it is widely believed outgoing oil secretary RS Pandey wants them signed before he retires on January 31. No decision was taken on seven disputed CBM blocks won by Gujarat-based Deep Industries, two of which are claimed by Arrow Energy, three by Essar and one by Great Eastern.

The DGH wants to reject Deep’s winning bids because it did not submit all the paperwork. But law and finance ministry officials reportedly told the ECS meeting it would be unfair to deny Deep a second chance to submit the missing paperwork.