CCI gives 30 days to get oil blocks out of MoD fire

Out of the seven blocks that got the defence ministry\'s clearance, four were assigned in the Mumbai offshore region to a 26:74 consortium of BHP Billiton Petroleum and GVK Oil and Gas. One block belongs to Cairn India awarded to it in the eighth round of licensing. BHP has full development and production rights on two other blocks in the Mumbai offshore region, while a 90:10 consortium of ONGC and Oil India have production rights over a block in the Andaman-Nicobar basin.

The ministry has said these companies have to take approval for building any permanent structure after the exploration and that fresh security clearance is required for the different kinds of vessels used in survey, exploration and production, sources privy to the development said. The ministry also said that another seven blocks that were also classified as no-go areas would continue to be so.

The roadblock on exploration activities had adversely affected investor interest in India\'s recent auctioning of oil and gas blocks. It also came in the way of India\'s efforts to reduce import dependence on crude oil and natural gas. India imports about 70% of its crude oil requirement and close to a fourth of the natural gas consumed in the country. The energy crisis that is gripping Asia\'s third-largest economy also casts serious doubts about its ambition to double the share of manufacturing output in its gross domestic product to 32% by 2020.

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