Anil Ambani blamed for Naftogaz block delay

Vol 15, PW 8 (20 Oct 11) Exploration & Production

Anil Ambani is blamed for delayed exploration work at the 3619-sq km Naftogaz-operated MN-ONN-2004/2 block in India’s north-eastern state of Mizoram.

At the last Operating Committee (OC) meeting in September, representatives from the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) allegedly refused to commit money to the NELP-VI block where it holds 80%. “(Anil-controlled) Reliance has not released any exploration funds,” reports a source.

“Their representatives on the OC keep postponing a decision on the work programme, saying they must first get management approval.” Our source says an attempt to carry out an ‘aeromagnetic survey’ at MN-ONN-2004/2 was previously unsuccessful.

Now Reliance is considering a ‘passive seismic survey’ involving sensors placed on the ground surface to gather data on ‘seismic movements.’ But it has yet to approve expenditure for this survey.

Another consortium source says Reliance better decide quickly or it will miss this year’s fair weather window for seismic acquisition in Mizoram from September till December. “We are already in October,” he laments.

“There isn’t much time left.” When contacted, a Reliance source says he is confident the consortium can meet its Phase-I commitment to shoot, process and interpret 1400-lkm of 2D and 400-sq km of 3D, and drill one exploration well.

But he declines to specify a timeframe even though the five-year Phase-I ends on May 25 next year. “We have plenty of time,” says Reliance.

“If we miss this season we will shoot the seismic next season; we can easily secure a six-month Phase-I extension from the DGH.” Ukraine’s Naftogaz, Monaco-headquartered Geopetrol and Reliance Natural Resources each hold 10% stake at this block; Reliance Energy holds 70%.

Signed on March 2, 2007, the PSC kicked-in on May 25 that year.