Canadian explorer East West wants India exit

Vol 18, PW 20 (04 Jun 15) People & Policy

After waiting three years to get a PEL for a block which lies 90% in a protected forest reserve and is threatened by militants and separatists, Vancouver-based East West Petroleum has unsurprisingly concluded that India isn’t worth the trouble.

Who can blame the little-known Toronto-listed explorer for wanting out of 396-sq km Assam-Arakan basin block AA-ONN-2010/2 where it holds 10%? And yet its partner and block operator Oil India tells PETROWATCH it is doing all it can to convince East West to stay put. “East West Petroleum wants to exit the block,” confirms an Oil India source.

“But we're trying to persuade them to abandon their exit plans. We’re writing letters, let’s see what happens.

” Oil India stresses it is not responsible for delays in securing a PEL - granted in January 2015, more than three years after the PSC was signed on March 28, 2012. PEL applications are meant to be made within seven days of signing a PSC.

“We applied in time,” insists Oil India. It seems Assam was hesitating to grant the PEL because most of the oil prone blocks falls within the protected forest reserve of Dhansiri in Karbi-Anglong district.

More, the block also sits near the Kaziranga National Park known for its elephants, rhinos and leopards. There is also a vocal separatist movement that could pose a risk to exploration.