Friday, 15 March 2013

RIL ready to relinquish merely 4,266 sq km of KG-D6 block

In contrast with the Oil Ministry’s demand to vacate 7,645 square kilometer in the KG-D6 block, energy giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has agreed to give up only 4,266 sq. km of the block, said the media reports. On a contractual basis, companies are required to give up 25 per cent of the area in an oil and gas block at the end of first phase of exploration that spans around three-year period. On the completion of second phase, companies are required to relinquish 50 per cent of the area, while after third phase, companies are allowed to retain only that area where some discovery has been made. The Mukesh Ambani-led company along with its partner Niko Resources of Canada was awarded the KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block in the year 2000. The three-year Phase-1 ended on June 7, 2003 while the 2-year Phase-II and Phase-III exhausted on June 7, 2005 and June 7, 2007 respectively. However, in the year 2006, upstream regulator DGH had agreed to RIL’s proposal of declaring the entire 7,645 sq km as discovery area, allowing the company to retain the complete area, sources said. The decision was sharply criticized by CAG as at the end of the third phase, only 79 per cent of the block area was covered by 3D seismic survey. In the 2011 performance audit, CAG had asked the Ministry to review the determination of entire KG-D6 lock as 'discovery area'. Subsequent to the CAG criticism, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) recommended that RIL should be informed that an area of 5,970 sq km is treated as having been relinquished in the first instance. However, the ministry had not yet served the relinquishment order on RIL, sources added.

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