Lal projects Mizoram as E&P destination

Vol 20, PW 21 (13 Jul 17) News in Brief

Tiny Mizoram in India's remote northeast is on a mission to project itself as the country's next exploration destination.

"Tripura was nothing 10 years ago," Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla tells this report by phone from the state capital Aizawl on July 11. "But today look how much gas it is producing!" With just 1m inhabitants, Lal blames Mizoram's lacklustre oil and gas record on a lack of political will in Delhi.

He says on July 10 he dispatched a state minister to Delhi for a meeting with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan. "He'll meet Pradhan this week and tell him to expedite exploration," adds Thanhawla.

"Mizoram's southern area (in Kolasib district) is untouched and the Arakan basin is rich in oil." Kolasib sits adjacent to the oil-rich Cachar area in Assam and Tripura. Naftogaz, Reliance and Geopetrol unsuccessfully tried to explore for oil at the MZ-ONN-2004/2 block and Oil India drilled two dry wells at MZ-ONN-2004/1 east of Aizawl - but withdrew in 2016.

Contacted by this report, Oil India confirms no work is currently on in Mizoram. "The companies were hopeless," complains Thanhawla.

"I want Pradhan to send a high-level team to Mizoram."