More defence ministry obstacles to E&P

Vol 16, PW 13 (24 Jan 13) News in Brief

Reliance and ONGC have again been denied defence ministry clearance to work at exploration blocks NEC-OSN-97/2 and KG-OSN-2009/4, despite oil secretary Girish Chaturvedi’s efforts.

Chaturvedi met Indian Navy chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi last November. But defence ministry deputy director (missiles) Ankit Bhargava wrote to the Navy on January 4 denying clearances for NEC-OSN-97/2, KG-OSN-2009/4 and Reliance’s relinquished block KG-OSN-2001/1.

Bhargava referred to an internal meeting on January 3. “These blocks are near Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) launch pads and the seabed is not deep enough for subsea production facilities,” he wrote.

“Oil and gas exploration is not permitted.” Reliance’s Mahanadi basin NELP-I block NEC-OSN-97/2, also known as NEC-25, has two gas discoveries: D-32 and D-40.

ONGC’s NELP-VIII KG shallow water block KG-OSN-2009/4 is at the exploration stage.