OIL gets MoEF green light for K-G onshore block exploration

The union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has given state-run explorer Oil India Ltd the green signal for its proposed exploration activities in a forested block of the Krishna-Godavari Basin in Andhra Pradesh.

According to an order issued on Monday, the Andhra Pradesh government, which forwarded OIL's application to the MoEF for environmental clearance, said the sample collected during the exploration activity should not be used for commercial purposes.

"Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, in their letter ... have accorded their approval for undertaking prospecting exploration activities over an extent of 55 sq km of forest land in KGONN2004/1 block having total area of 511 sq km of land located in Kakinada division in East Godavari district, in favour of Oil India Ltd, subject to certain conditions as stipulated therein," the order said.

OIL, along with its partner GeoGlobal Resources, Barbados, has already invited global expressions of interest (EoI) from contractors with relevant experience for its exploratory drilling campaign in the block for various services.

The joint venture has a commitment to drill 12 exploratory wells in the 549 sq km area on the eastern coast of India, OIL had said earlier.

"The activities to be undertaken by the user agency (OIL) within the forest land for prospecting shall not result in the felling of any tree. The samples collected during the prospecting shall be used purely for investigation purposes and shall in no case be used for trade or commerce purposes," the order further said.

The permission for prospecting shall not be construed as any commitment on part of the central government for diversion of forestland for mining purpose and after completion of the prospecting all bore holes shall be completely filled up, it said.

The block was awarded by the ministry of petroleum & natural gas under its New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) round VI, to the consortium of OIL (with a 90 per cent stake as the operator), and GeoGlobal Resources, with a 10 per cent stake as partner for the block.

The block comprises of 511 sq km on land in the district of East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh and 38 sq km in the district of Yanam, Puducherry (Union Territory).