Asian Oilfield faces Manipur seismic protests

Vol 20, PW 17 (18 May 17) Exploration & Production

Asian Oilfield has brushed aside loud protests from villagers and NGOs in Manipur and reports little or no disruption to its 870-lkm 2D survey for Oil India.

Asian director Rohit Agarwal confirms that a 50-member crew took four shots on May 8 and that around 40 shots have been taken so far since Asian mobilised in March and began shooting in early April under a Rs142.86cr ($21m) contract won on January 16. Vocal protests during public consultations held by Nungba and Goinanglong village authorities on May 2 and May 3 threatened to disrupt work.

Also in attendance were local leaders from Muktina, Thungoi and Keimai villages and Manipur-based NGOs Centre for Research and Advocacy and Peace Core Team. Villagers worry the 2D survey is taking place without their consent and without adequate information about its impact.

None of this worries Asian. Agarwal is confident the company can complete work within the stipulated 21-month time frame or by September 2018.

Over the next few months the company will deploy over 200 crew. "We've told Oil India about the protests," says Agarwal.

"There is no problem." Agarwal compares the situation to similar protests by farmers in Gujarat and dismisses the presence of armed insurgent groups in sensitive Manipur as no cause for panic. "Not a single (seismic) survey," adds Agarwal, "takes place without such problems."

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