ONGC has requested petroleum ministry for restructuring of exploration phases in Block AA-ONJ/2. ONGC initially submitted a proposal to Directorate General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) in March 2011 for re-structuring of three exploration phases. However, the proposal was rejected by DGH stating that it lacked technical merit. The Corporation has requested the ministry again to take up the matter.

Block AA-ONJ/2 was offered to Tullow India Operations Limited (TIOL) with 60 per cent Participating Interest (PI) and ONGC with 40 per cent PI in 1996.TIOL was the operator for the block. The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) was signed in November 2003 between the Centre, TIOL and ONGC. Subsequent to the grant of PEL, TOIL did not carry out any physical activities against the Minimum Work programme (MWP) and served a notice of withdrawal from the Joint Venture to ONGC in February 2009. Following this, ONGC approached the Centre for transfer of 60 per cent PI of TIOL along with the Operatorship to ONGC in the block AA-ONJ/2, which was approved in March 2011.

Following this, ONGC submitted a proposal to DGH for re-structuring of three exploration phases and a detailed proposal with revised work programme and budget. ONGC stated that TOIL had proposed acquisition of 2D seismic survey at the time of award of block in 1996. However, in due course of time with the availability of advanced 3D seismic survey having better subsurface resolution; ONGC proposed to carryout 3D seismic instead of earlier 2D seismic survey. ONGC has informed that 3D seismic data acquisition was suggested because of its better sub surface results and would also fast track exploration operations in the block, which was already delayed considerably.

DGH in November 2011 conveyed that ONGC’s proposal for swapping of 2D seismic API with 3D seismic API does not have technical merit and advised to conduct 2D seismic campaign, covering entire block. ONGC has already acquired 136 GLK 2D seismic against planned programme of 300 GLK. Remaining seismic survey is planned during next field season. ONGC mentioned that it lost more than nine months from March 2011 and December 2011 in initiating exploration phase programme awaiting formal approval of its proposal for restructuring of exploration phases.

In view of this, ONGC has requested the ministry to consider time lost in seeking formal orders as excusable delay and regularize the exploration phases. ONGC has requested restructuring of Phase-I by granting 291 days period as excusable delay and accordingly extend the validity of phase till December 31, 2013.

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