The Union Cabinet today approved a Rs 3,000 crore project to acquire seismic data for prospecting of oil and natural gas reserves. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a project to acquire 48,243 line kilometer (LKM) 2D seismic data for appraisal of Indian sedimentary basins where limited data is available, an official statement said here. National oil companies Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) will implement the project. "The project will help in increasing the investments in domestic production of oil and gas," it said, adding OIL will conduct survey in North-Eastern states while the remaining areas would be covered by ONGC. Briefing reporters on the Cabinet decision, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the Rs 2,932.99 crore cost of the five-year project will first be borne by the state-owned firms and reimbursed by the government later. The project would "generate direct as well as indirect employment for about 11,000 people in the form of skilled and unskilled workers and suppliers for support services," the statement said. Once prospects are established, the blocks will be offered for further exploration and production. India has 26 sedimentary basins covering an area of 3.14 million sq km spread over onland, shallow water and deep water. Of this, about 1.502 million sq km or 48 per cent of the total sedimentary basin area has not been adequiately mapped for hydrocarbon prospects. Appraising all the unappraised areas has been taken up on war footing in 2016-17 with 9,00 line km 2D seismic data acquired till July this year. Data acquisition is important as it helps in giving the initial insight into the basins and helps in planning the future E&P activities. "It will be useful in deciding the focus areas of the exploration activities in the country and on the basis of this primary data, E&P companies would take up further exploration activities in the acreages allocated to them," the statement added.
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