Environmental Clearance for Drilling-THE HINDU-19-01-2020
The Environment Ministry has exempted oil and gas firms, looking to conduct exploratory drilling, from seeking an environmental clearance. The clearance is for both on-shore and offshore drilling explorations and the process is an ecologically-intensive exercise that involves digging multiple wells and conducting seismic surveys offshore. While public hearings, even for category A projects are frequently exempted if they are offshore, the new amendments demote exploratory projects to the category of ‘B2’.
In 2019, the ONGC and the Vedanta group were granted permission to conduct exploratory oil surveys in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and this had led to protests led by the Opposition DMK and the Congress, which argue that the exploratory drilling will lead to destruction of agricultural fields in the Cauvery delta.
The government in 2019 relaxed rules that incentivises companies conducting oil exploration surveys in less-explored oil fields to keep a greater share of revenue if they chance upon viable hydrocarbon blocks.
This has led to a spurt in interest in oil and gas exploration with the Cauvery basin registering a spurt in activity. You have reached your limit for free articles this month.