Millennium Post

BHP, BP, others to give up 14 Indian oil & gas blocks

World's largest mining company BHP Billiton, Australia's Santos and UK's BP are among the five top global energy firms that have decided to give up oil and gas acreages in India for want of defence clearances.

In all 14 oil and gas exploration blocks have been proposed to be relinquished by BHP, Santos, BP, BG of UK and Italy's Eni, according to Standing Committee Report on Petroleum and Natural Gas which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

BHP is giving up nine offshore and deep sea blocks in Mahanadi basin for want of full defence clearance to explore oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal. Santos on the other hand is giving up its two blocks of West Bengal due to maritime boundary dispute between India and Bangladesh and lack of clearance from Defence Ministry. BP and BG have given up on exploration in Krishna Godavari basin because of lack of defence clearance while Eni is relinquishing an area in Rajasthan for not being granted permission for petroleum operation in Desert National Park (DNP) area falling within its block.

"The committee is dismayed to find that certain foreign companies have proposed to relinquish 14 exploration blocks due to restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Defence thereby discouraging participation of foreign companies," the report said. Indian companies have also been affected due to delay in clearance from government agencies.

"The committee, therefore, recommend that the Ministry/DGH should ensure that all the necessary clearances are obtained from concerned authorities for blocks offered for auction so that the firms  which emerge successful can commence their exploration work at the earliest," it said.
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