Reliance Industries has received green nod for drilling 8 additional exploratory wells to ascertain the reservoir capacity and commercial viability of hydrocarbons off the coast of Tamil Nadu at a project cost of Rs 800 crore. The company has been awarded exploratory rights for hydrocarbons prospecting in the offshore block DY-III-D5 under the New Exploration Licensing Policy-III. RIL has already been given the environment clearance to drill 11 exploratory wells in this block. As on date, Reliance Industries Ltd has drilled nine wells and discovered hydrocarbons in three wells. Since seismic data and the drilling campaign shows presence of hydrocarbons in the block, RIL is planning to carry out 8 additional exploratory well drilling to establish the reservoir capacity. "Based on the recommendation of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), the Environment Ministry on June 30 gave environment clearance for the RIL's exploratory drilling project in Tamil Nadu," a senior government official said. The clearance to the Rs 800 crore project has been given subject to certain conditions, the official added. Among key conditions specified, RIL has been asked to ensure gas produced during the testing should be flared with appropriate flaring booms. It should also ensure that there is no impact on flora and fauna due to drilling of wells in the offshore sea. It should undertake conservation measures to protect the marine animals\/biota in the region. The company should monitor the petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals concentration in the marine fish species regularly and submit report to the government. Among others, the Panel suggested that all the hazardous waste generated at the rig\/offshore facility should be properly treated, transported to on shore and disposed of in accordance with the norms. The company has also been asked to take permission from the Shipping Ministry for commencement of the drilling operations. Reliance forayed into the exploration and production business by partnering British Gas in an unincorporated joint venture in Panna Mukta and Mid and South Tapti blocks, where it holds 30 per cent stake. Besides Panna Mukta and Tapti blocks, their domestic portfolio comprises of five conventional oil and gas blocks in Krishna Godavari, Mahanadi, Cauvery Palar, Gujarat Saurashtra and Cambay Basin and two Coal Bed Methane blocks in Sohagpur East and West in Madhya Pradesh. The company also has blocks overseas.