Nagaland tells ONGC to wait before resuming drilling

Vol 6, PW 9 (03 Jul 02) News in Brief

Elsewhere in the insurgency-hit northeast ONGC will have to wait before resuming its long-awaited drilling programme in Nagaland.

We learn the state government has asked ONGC to wait until it resolves a dispute on royalty sharing between itself and the Naga tribal village council. ONGC wanted to resume drilling in May, on the strength of a ceasefire and ongoing peace talks between Delhi and rebels of the separatist National Socialist Council of Nagaland.

Drilling was suspended in 1994 when separatist guerrillas threatened ONGC staffers with abduction. ONGC wants to drill for fresh reserves and exploit those established till 1994.

It is now planning fresh wells in the Wokha district and equipment has beenmobilised. ONGC says it has an established reserve base of 2.69m tonnes (19.7m barrels) of oil in Nagaland.