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ONGC gets green nod for Rs 1,752-cr project in Gujarat

The Centre’s green panel has given clearance to the state-owned ONGC for its Rs 1,752-crore project involving drilling of 406 development wells in oil fields in Gujarat’s Cambay Basin. The proposed drilling is expected to be undertaken at the company’s Ahmedabad asset located in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Kheda districts. The asset currently produces 3,725 tonnes per day crude oil and 5.8 lakh cubic meters (m3) of natural gas on a daily basis.

After detailed deliberations, the expert appraisal committee (EAC) found the final EIA/EMP (environment impact assessment and environment management plan) report “adequate” and suggested stipulating specific conditions along with other environmental conditions while considering accord of clearance, according to minutes of the EAC meeting held last month. Based on the EAC recommendations, the Union environment ministry will soon take a final call on the proposal, the official said. The cost of the ONGC’s drilling project is estimated at Rs 1,752 crore. The depth of drilling wells will be in the range of 800-2,000 metres.

According to EAC, the final environmental clearance to the project would be subject to obtaining prior clearance from the wildlife point of view, including clearance from the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife as applicable. It also suggested that the ministry impose specific conditions, including monitoring of ambient air quality, putting in place a mechanism to control noise from the drilling activity, preparation of oil spillage prevention and mitigation scheme, among others.

Meanwhile, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, owner of the world’s largest refining complex, today said global oil prices are likely to remain low for 3-5 years, benefitting a net importing nation like India. “Well, as we see the situation (oil prices), it s low for long. And this is really the first time in the world that oil prices have gone down on incremental supply,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview. Ambani, the richest Indian, said there have been spikes in oil prices in past. “But never has it (fallen) because there has been more supply than demand. It’s also the first time that you now have, because of the innovation in the US, large quantities of oil,” he said.

The US, he said, has gone from less than a million barrels a day to nine million barrels a day of oil production. “And with the oil supply, OPEC has lost the controlling factor. And with that, there is oversupply in the world,” he told Zakaria, the only person to have interviewed Mukesh Ambani twice. The elder Ambani sibling has a net worth of almost $20 billion, while Reliance Industries has a market capitalisation of over $40 billion. Asked how long the scenario will last, he said: “I think for at least three to five years, until we see a structural change, in my view. But I have always been wrong, so,” he said.
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