BP completes public hearing for CBM block at Birbhum

Vol 12, PW 7 (21 Aug 08) Exploration & Production

UK-based BP has passed a significant milestone in its quest to start exploration work at CBM block BB-CBM-2005/III in West Bengal by completing a mandatory local public hearing on the project on August 19.

BP, we hear, thinks the meeting hosted by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and chaired by the Birbhum district magistrate to record any objections and concerns raised by local inhabitants about its plans at the 248-sq km block went well. “Issues that come up during the public hearing are incorporated into the final Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report sent to the (federal) ministry of environment,â€‌ confirms a BP source.

“To the best of my knowledge no major issues were raised.â€‌ BP had also prepared for the environmental hearing.

A draft Environment Impact Assessment report was prepared for BP in June by consultancy Environment Resource Management, based on terms of reference drawn up by BP and approved by a committee of experts in the environment ministry. Along with preparing for the public hearing, BP’s CBM team has been analysing existing sub-surface data to prepare for drilling core holes and also to identify patches of land required to locate the core holes.

“Initially, we’ll need about 14 acres of land for this purpose,â€‌ says BP. “Drilling can begin once the environment ministry gives its clearance.

â€‌ If everything goes to plan, BP wants to start drilling the eight committed core holes by the fourth quarter of this year, followed by five test wells. Core hole depths will range between 600 metres and 1000 metres.

Both core holes and test wells will be completed by the end of 2009 and are part of the work commitment in the two-year Phase-I at the block. BP, we hear, has identified drilling contractors and, “is in the process of hiring the rigs.