HOEC no longer interested in Rajasthan block

Vol 18, PW 26 (27 Aug 15) People & Policy

Tired of constant delays getting government clearances, BSE-listed HOEC has opted to relinquish NELP-VII Rajasthan block RJ-ONN-2005/1 which it jointly operates with Bharat Petro Resources (BPRL).

“We applied to the DGH in July to surrender the block,” confirms a senior HOEC source. “There are many reasons to give up.

One of them is that we haven’t received environmental clearance.” Our source points to a government policy which allows a company to surrender a block if it faces delays in getting clearances for more than two years.

“In our case," he adds, "it has been seven years since we signed the PSC." Defence ministry clearance is another hurdle yet to be overcome because of the block's proximity to the Pakistan border.

HOEC has already been forced to relinquish 273-sq km of the original 1424-sq km area, leaving it with only 1151-sq km to explore. Getting an extension to the Phase-I work programme completion deadline is another headache.

Last September HOEC and partners wrote to the DGH seeking a one-year extension beyond January 15, 2015. This would have already been the third extension at the block.

But even that has yet to be cleared. Which is why the consortium has done little at the block since issuing tenders to hire a rig and services in January 2014 for a planned five-well drilling programme.

LNG Summit