HOEC pushes back first Dirok gas production

Vol 20, PW 19 (15 Jun 17) Exploration & Production

HOEC has been forced to push back plans to begin first commercial gas production from its Dirok discoveries in Assam.

As ever, the delay is blamed squarely on delays at the environment ministry. On June 5, HOEC admitted what most have always predicted: that sales from the AAP-ON-94/1 block in Assam will not begin as planned by May 2017 (last month).

Instead HOEC hopes to begin sales during the July-September quarter later this year. In focus is a plan to simultaneously bring onstream the Dirok-1, Dirok-2 and Dirok-4 discoveries to produce 600,000 cm/d and 500 b/d condensate for sale to Oil India and the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Complex.

"The Assam State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) headed by chief minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) has recommended the project in full - including all the wells," said HOEC in its June 5 press statement. "But the Standing Committee of the environment ministry's National Board for Wildlife during its meeting on May 15, 2017, while approving the overall project, imposed restrictions on oil and gas wells located within 1-km of wildlife sanctuaries." As a result, HOEC is demanding urgent oil ministry intervention.

Simultaneously it's telling the environment ministry the wells inside the 1-km area were drilled after it submitted a wildlife management plan and were approved by "appropriate authorities." HOEC further claims the, "1-km restriction around protected areas was not part of any previous environment ministry guidelines."