Sick of waiting Oil India wants to exit Deomali

Vol 23, PW 5 (16 Jan 20) Exploration & Production

Oil India is so fed up with the bureaucratic forest clearance process endemic in northeast India it is believed to be thinking of walking away from its prospective 113.5-sq km Deomali PEL in Arunachal Pradesh.

If true, this opens up the possibility that the Deomali PEL, where five drilling locations have been identified and where the prospect of shale exploration has also been considered, could be auctioned in a future licensing round. An Oil India source confirms it has completed surveys and marked out the drilling site for the first proposed exploration well DML-2.

"But the block is 10-km from the Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary and the (state) government wants forest clearance," he explains. Oil India first applied for forest clearance for well DML-2 on July 5 (2011) but its patience ran out when after years of delay forest officials pointed out its PEL lapsed in July last year (2019).

"During the forest clearance process we were told the PEL needs to be valid and we must re-apply for a fresh PEL," says an Oil India source. "We don't know if we will do this.

We urged the government to automatically extend the PEL because of delays getting forest clearance." Another source adds applying for a PEL renewal is "not worth it."

Oil India identified five possible well locations in a 2014 EIA report but is focusing on DML-2.