DGH meets navy over 11 held up E&P blocks

Vol 16, PW 10 (29 Nov 12) Exploration & Production

Hopes are high operators like BHP Billiton and British Gas might soon get defence ministry clearance at their offshore oil and gas blocks.

Oil secretary Girish Chaturvedi met navy chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi on November 21 at naval HQ in Delhi to press for clearances at 11 blocks across the KG, Mahanadi and Mumbai offshore basins. Chaturvedi was accompanied by DGH director general Rajiv Nayan Choubey, ministry joint secretary Aramane Giridhar and TP Rao, head of NELP at the DGH.

“This is the first time we’ve met the navy chief,” says a source. “He has committed to look into the matter and to respond in two weeks.

” Chaturvedi, he adds, explained to Admiral Joshi that contractors don’t need blocks permanently. “Joshi was worried that if contractors occupy areas permanently it could reduce the firing and exercise zone for the navy,” we hear.

“We clarified that once a contractor shoots seismic and identifies a drilling location it will limit itself to the identified area.” Of the 11 blocks delayed by the navy, BHP operates five in the western offshore: MB-DWN-2005/5, MB-DWN-2005/7, MB-DWN-2005/9, MB-OSN-2009/6 and MB-OSN-2009/7.

Work at Cairn’s western offshore block MB-DWN-2009/1 is also held up and it is the same with five blocks in the eastern offshore: Reliance’s KG-DWN-98/3; British Gas-operated KG-DWN-2009/1; ONGC’s NELP-VII blocks KG-OSN-2005/1 and KG-OSN-2005/2; and ONGC’s Andaman offshore block AN-DWN-2005/1. On October 25 the defence ministry wrote to the oil ministry saying 14 blocks in total faced obstacles.

Besides these 11 blocks, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is delaying work at three blocks.