Cairn gets environment clearance to hike output from Rajasthan block

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The ministry of environment and forests has given environment clearance to Cairn India to raise crude oil production from its prolific Rajasthan block by 50% to 300,000 barrels per day.

In an August 11 order posted on its website, the Ministry also gave environment clearance to Cairn to produce up to 165 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Barmer basin block.

"The Ministry of Environment and Forests has examined your application. It is noted that the proposal is for augmentation of hydrocarbon production (from 200,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd) and 165 mmscfd natural gas in RJ-ON-90/1 block, Barmer and Jalore Districts, Rajasthan.

"The Ministry of Environment and Forests hereby accords environmental clearance to the above project under the provisions of EIA notification," the order said.

The Ministry noted that the hydrocarbon resource potential of the Rajasthan block is estimated at 7.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent and the estimated cost of project is Rs 16,000 crore.

According to the proposal, Cairn will develop 205 well pads for additional production/injection/EOR wells and evacuation infrastructure.

"Land requirement for terminal expansion will be 344 hectare," the order said.

The proposal was considered by the Expert Appraisal Committee in May last year and again on January 29-30, 2014 and April 28-30, 2014. "Based on the documents furnished and presentation made by the project proponent and the EIA consultant namely AECOM India Pvt Ltd, the Committee recommended the proposal for environmental clearance," it said.

Cairn will have to comply with specific conditions like stack emission from various units should conform to prescribed standards and leak detection and repair programme shall be prepared and implemented.

Also, waste water would be treated and a green belt should be developed in at least 33% of the plant area to mitigate the effects of fugitive emissions.

Cairn will also have to set aside Rs 300 crore for the Enterprise Social Commitment based on local need.

Rajasthan block produced 181,894 barrels per day of crude oil in April-June and 8 million standard cubic feet per day of gas.

Cairn, which is investing $3 billion in raising oil production from the Rajasthan block, plans to invest another $200 million in developing a gas find in the predominantly oil-rich block.

Gas production is planned to reach 22 mmscfd by end of the fiscal and the new investment in the field development would take it to 90 mmscfd by end of FY16.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) holds 30% interest in the Rajasthan block where Cairn is the operator with 70% stake.

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