Cabinet panel sets one-month deadline to revive stalled oil projects

Oil

The petroleum and defence ministries have been asked to iron out their differences within one month to facilitate implementation of 46 big-ticket oil and gas sector projects, which have blocked investments of Rs 92,000 crore.

The first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Investments (CCI) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked both ministries to resolve the bottlenecks holding up the mega exploration projects in the offshore areas of the country.

The CCI, one of the most significant reform measure of the Singh government since September 2012 however left the individual issues holding up these projects to be cleared mutually by the ministries.

The CCI decision comes after an earlier effort by the Cabinet Secretariat in December 2012 which too had set a one month deadline, has expired.

The CCI has been set up to clear projects of Rs 1000 crore and more by the government to break the perception that project clearances are getting stalled in the country.

The defence ministry has been opposing the clearance for these exploration projects saying that the permanent drill ships will be security hazard in sensitive areas with Navy or Air Force installations, but the oil ministry has claimed that the ships are temporary ones.

The Cabinet Secretariat had found that some of the projects date back a decade and are stranded because the defence ministry has raised the red flag on them.

Of the projects hanging fire, 15 are from Reliance Industries'-led consortium while another 20 are from ONGC. Others affected include those from Cairn India, BHP Billiton and Brazilian firm Santos.

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