New Delhi: In its first decision, the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) on Wednesday cleared Reliance Industries' producing KG-D6 block and gas discovery area NEC-25 along with 3 other areas where the Defence Ministry had either barred oil and gas activity or put stringent conditions on that.
In all, 8 blocks including RIL's Krishna Godavari basin KG-D6 block and gas discovery area of NEC-25 in the North East Coast (NEC) region, were declared "No-Go" zones for reasons like overlapping with proposed Naval base or being close to missile launching and Air Force exercise area.
Stringent conditions were put for another 31 exploration areas.
The CCI, which had in January-end asked the miniteries of petroleum and defence to sort out differences, cleared five of the "No-Go" blocks, official sources said. Three blocks will continue to be No-Go areas.
RIL's KG-D6, which has been producing oil since September 2008 and gas from April 2009, was fully cleared for oil and gas activity with total area of 7,645 sq km reduced by 495 sq km to meet defence needs.
Similarly, its NEC-OSN-97/2, where six gas finds have so far been made, cleared after the portion of the block nearest to the coast was relinquished and the remaining portion was found to be beyond 100 km from the Chandipur Missle launch of DRDO and Balasore air-to-air firing range of IAF.
RIL's KG-OSN-2001/1 was also cleared but the block had already been relinquished by the operator, sources said.
However, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp's (ONGC) KG basin blocks KG-OSN-2005/1 and KG-OSN-2005/2 and BG Group's KG-DWN-2009/1 would remain "No-Go" areas as they fall directly within the boundary of the proposed naval base.
The CCI decided that the Oil Ministry will take steps for termination of the contract.
For Cairn India's KG-OSN-2009/3 and ONGC's KG-OSN-2009/4 blocks, only a small portion was cleared as the rest was within the impact zone of IAF's Suryalanka Guided Weapon Firing Range(GWFR) and Machhlipatnam launch site.
Sources said, of the 31 blocks with stringent conditions, 15 where DRDO clearance was needed, were cleared with some conditions. 17 blocks for which Navy had given conditional clearance earlier have now been cleared by Navy without any conditions.
Further, out of the 11 blocks which were conditionally cleared by IAF earlier, five areas have completely been cleared and one block cleared with a 10 per cent reduction in area. The remaining five blocks have been cleared fully for exploration up to 2016 in portions overlapping with defence facilities.