CCI to consider approval to RIL's KG D6, 46 other blocks

The newly formed Cabinet Committee on Investment will soon consider clearing 47 oil & gas blocks, including Reliance Industries' producing KG-D6 gas fields, where defence clearance has either been withdrawn or withheld.

The Oil Ministry has moved a note for CCI consideration seeking approval for 47 oil and gas exploration and production areas where the Defence Ministry has withdrawn clearances or put stringent conditions.

Sources said companies like RIL have already invested $15 billion since 2000 and the Ministry of Defence has now withdrawn or withheld clearance to them.

Of the 47 blocks, RIL's KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block falls in 14 areas which the Ministry of Defence has declared as "No-GO". The reason for classifying the Krishna Godavari basin block, where UK's BP Plc has 30 per cent interest, as 'No-Go' area is that it overlaps with a proposed Naval base.

KG-D6, which was awarded to RIL in 2000 by the Cabinet after clearance from all ministries concerned, had been producing oil since September 2008 and gas from April 1, 2009.

RIL-BP's Mahanadi basin block NEC-OSN-97/2 where sizeable gas discoveries have been made, too has been classified as "No-Go" area as it is close to missile launching range/air force exercise area.

Sources said the other 12 "No-Go" blocks are with state-owned ONGC, Cairn India and Australia's BHP Billiton and reasons cited for withdrawing clearance including being close to missile launching range, overlapping with proposed Naval base, overlapping with Naval firing range and Air Force exercise area.

Clearance to oil blocks may be the first agenda that CCI may take up since it was formed last month.

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