RIL Gets Nod For Exploring Offshore Blocks In Maharashtra

Mumbai, November 26: | Updated: Nov 27 2002, 05:30am hrs
On the heels of its recent find of 7 trillion cubic meter gas in the Krishna-Godavari basin, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has received the Raigad district collectors nod for carrying out exploratory deep-sea drilling off the Murud-Janjira coast in Maharashtra.

RIL, which is competing with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation under the new exploratory license policy had submitted a proposal for launching drilling in MBOF-4 and MBOF-5 for gas and oil.

Raigad collector SD Shinde gave his consent after holding a public hearing last week. RIL is expected to begin the work sometime in December after receiving the other necessary clearances.

Mr Shinde told FE over phone on Tuesday that he had forwarded his report allowing RIL to launch its survey for gas and oil in the deep sea off the Murud-Janjira coast.

The report has been submitted to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board which would forward it to the Union environment and forest ministry.

Mr Shinde said during the public hearings, participants raised issues with regard to the possible impact on fishing and environment. He reiterated that permission was only for carrying out survey for oil and gas reserves in the region, and that the company could launch actual work only after receiving the final consent from the Union environment and forest ministry.

MPCB member-secretary Munshilal Gautam said RIL would be granted consent to establish under section 25 of the Water Pollution (control) Act and later a consent to operate under section 21 of the Air Act. It would be done only after receiving the nod from the environment and forest ministry, he added.

When contacted, RIL declined to comment.

Analysts said the company seemed to have embarked on a major plan in the oil and gas sector under the Nelp with focus on Maharashtra in a bid to give a run to ONGC, which has presence in the Bombay High. They also said RILs proposal deserved importance as the company, along with BSES Ltd, was a serious bidder for the troubled Dabhol Power Company. The liquefied natural gas terminal at the Dabhol plant had been almost complete and the company might be looking at potential business involving LNG supply.