Cabinet clears exploration in 31 oil, gas blocks

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) Monday cleared 25 oil and gas blocks for exploration out of the 31 where work had been stopped due to security restrictions by the defence ministry.

“Out of 31 blocks, 9 blocks have been fully cleared and 16 blocks have been cleared with specific conditions,” the petroleum ministry said in a statement here.

The CCI clearances Monday mean that investment of $2.71 billion already made will be put to use and further investment of $1.9 billion will be made in the exploration activities in the next 3-5 yearS, the statement added.

The defence ministry had classified eight areas as “No-Go” areas and placed stringent conditions in respect of 31 exploration blocks.

The CCI in March cleared five “No-Go” areas, including Reliance Industries consortium operated KG-D6 and its gas block NEC-25 for exploration and production.

“Huge investment is expected in these blocks in the coming years based on discovery of hydrocarbons,” the petroleum ministry said.

Clearance of 73 blocks awarded under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) since 1999 was pending owing to security issues, involving estimated hydrocarbon reserves of 6 billion tonnes.

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