Oil India drops plans to explore Brahmaputra

Vol 10, PW 19 (25 Jan 07) News in Brief

Oil India has backed down in the face of sustained environmental opposition to its proposed exploration of the Brahmaputra River, home to a rare species of river dolphin.

A senior Oil India official confirms to PETROWATCH that the company has decided to “suspendâ€‌ plans to carry out a 175-km 2D seismic survey of the riverbed because of pressure from environmental groups and the resultant lack of clearance from the environmental ministry in Delhi. Oil India was planning to hire a company called Caspi Shelf from Kazakhstan to carry out the survey.

“We wanted to start this work in winter and finish it before the monsoon,â€‌ says Oil India. Caspi Shelf has carried out similar surveys in the Volga riverbed and the Caspian Sea.

Environmentalists highlight the potentially devastating impact of exploration work on 250 river dolphins living in the Brahmaputra. Over the past 20 years the global river dolphin population has fallen from 6000 to 2000.

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