Missiles versus E&P

Vol 14, PW 25 (16 Jun 11) News in Brief

Oil and defence ministry officials meet later this month amid sharp divisions over whether missile tests on India’s east coast should take precedence over exploration for oil and gas.

Planned missile test plans overseen by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) have rendered large swathes of the east coast and Bay of Bengal off limits. “They (DRDO) object to all E&P on the eastern offshore,” reports an oil ministry source.

“They are stuck in a 1960s mindset. All these years we’ve had no serious E&P on the east coast so these missile guys claimed the sea for themselves.

” But times have changed, argues the oil ministry, and the DRDO should clearly demarcate missile testing corridors and drop its demand for a blanket E&P ban. Future mineral and gas hydrate exploration is at risk if the defence ministry maintains its stance, adds the oil ministry.

Exploration programmes by Reliance, Cairn, ONGC and Eni have all been hit by east coast missile tests.