Pradhan tells DGH to better monitor operators

Vol 18, PW 24 (30 Jul 15) People & Policy

Dharmendra Pradhan is on the warpath to boost India's oil production.

Not only has he upbraided the DGH for arbitrarily imposing penalties on operators, he has also directed it to hold quarterly review meetings to ensure exploration targets are met. DGH officials held the first round of these meetings from July 13-28.

A DGH source confirms the meetings will micro-manage the progress of companies, identify challenges that need government intervention, check budgets are spent appropriately and ensure the Minimum Work Programme (MWP) is completed in time. "We plan to divide the MWP by quarter," says a DGH source.

"For instance if a company must carry out a seismic survey and a drilling programme we will set out by which quarter the tender should be floated, when land acquisition must happen and when the tender must be awarded." A ministry source confirms it will step in if there is a delay securing clearances or acquiring land. The ministry will also intervene in any consortium disputes.

Take a longstanding battle between Essar and ONGC at the CB-ON/3 field where Essar has notified the ENS and ENP discoveries. Essar cannot develop the block because the mining lease must be requested by original licensee ONGC, which thinks the block is non-commercial.

Now the ministry has resolved the four-year dispute by telling ONGC to apply for the lease with Essar reimbursing costs.

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