Anil Agarwal still lobbying for Cairn acreage

Vol 17, PW 6 (17 Oct 13) People & Policy

Cairn India owner Anil Agarwal doesn't give up easily.

All the signs point to a lost cause but Agarwal is still lobbying for Cairn to get back 7997-sq km it relinquished at Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1. But the oil ministry wants to offer this area in the forthcoming NELP-X round.

A senior oil ministry source says Cairn's demand will not be accepted by any government department. “But if some people have confidence in their political contacts and the corruptibility of our political leaders, it is their call,” he says.

“Neither the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) nor the finance minister (P. Chidambaram) will do it (agree to Agarwal’s demand).

But I don't know about others, they may agree for a few hundred crore rupees. We have watchful media and civil society groups and if anybody wants to go to jail, what can I do” He adds oil secretary (Vivek Rae) has told Agarwal on several occasions he cannot get the relinquished area back.

So why is Cairn still hopeful “They may be keen to face the Supreme Court,” he says, sarcastically. But one cannot blame Cairn for trying, amid conflicting signals from the government.

Speaking to PETROWATCH on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony for HPCL's Barmer refinery on September 22, oil minister Veerappa Moily said the matter is “under active consideration.” By last week Cairn had yet to receive any formal communication from the government.

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