Changpang proposal

Vol 15, PW 3 (11 Aug 11) News in Brief

An unnamed mining company is strangely trying to entice E&P players into assuming the operatorship of the Changpang oil and gasfield in Nagaland, abandoned by ONGC about 17 years ago.

Take little-known drilling contractor MB Petroleum, a 100% subsidiary of Oman-headquartered Petrogas. Sometime in July, MB Petroleum executives were approached by 'independent consultants' acting on behalf of the mysterious Nagaland-based mining company, and reportedly supported by state chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

"Discussions are at a preliminary stage," says an MB Petroleum source. "But we have little interest in operating Changpang because of the threat of militancy in Nagaland, and the difficult terrain." ONGC discovered Changpang in 1970 and drilled 59 wells in total, of which 31 oil wells and two gas wells were put on production in 1981.

But the company exited the state in 1994 after its employees received death threats from local militant groups with threats of beheading.