The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has accorded 'green signal' to Oil India Ltd's (OIL's) proposed exploration activities in KG–ONN–2004/1 block in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
According to an order issued yesterday, the Andhra Pradesh government, which forwarded OIL's application to the Union Ministry for environmental clearance, said the sample collected during the exploration activity should not be used for commercial purpose.
"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 kms of forest land in KG–ONN–2004/1 block having total area of 511 sq kms of land located in Kakinada Division in East Godavari District, in favour of M/s 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 Expression of Interest (EOI) from interested contractors with relevant experience for its exploratory drilling campaign in the block KG-ONN-2004/1 for provision of various services.
The JV has a commitment to drill 12 exploratory wells in the 549 sq kms block 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 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 purpose," the order further said.
The permission for prospecting shall not be construed as any commitment on part of the central government for diversion of forest land 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 India Limited (OIL), a government enterprise (with 90% stake as the operator) and GeoGlobal Resources (GGR: Barbados) with 10% stake as partner for the block.
The 549 sq kms block comprises of 511 sq km on land area in the district of East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh and 38 sq km in the district of Yanam, Puducherry (UT).
Shares of OIL were quoted at Rs 560.70 apiece, up 1.88%, on the BSE during afternoon trade.