ONGC to urge Centre to swap water blocks to pave way for SSCP

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Chennai, Oct 13 (UNI) The Public Sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will write to the Centre requesting for swapping one of its shallow water blocks in Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay as it might come in the way of Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP).

Addressing his first press conference here last night, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director R S Sharma said ''as of now we have carried out only seismic survey on it''.

''We could not carry out further activities as the shallow water block came under the marine bio-sphere and objection was raised by the Environment Department a year ago.'' He said the ONGC obtained the 800 sqkm shallow water block through New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) a year ago.

''A smaller portion comes on the western side of SSCP. That's why we want to swap the block from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Bay to keep away from the SSCP'', he added.

Mr Sharma said the ONGC would bid for the Sakhalin-3, the oil and gas blocks in Russia during his ensuing visit to Moscow in the third week of this month.

''A high level delegation is going to Moscow on a four-day visit from October 23 and I will be part of it. It is a high find reserve and there is a lot of propensity in it. We will be using the diplomatic support to bag the project'', he added.

He said the ONGC had already spent around Rs 8,000 crore in Sakhalin-1, a JV company in which ONGC has a 20 per cent stake, for oil and gas exploration.

Mr Sharma said the board of directors have approved investment proposal of Rs 6,300 crore as next dose of investment for Mumbai High second phase of South field. ''The recovery factor from this field has gone up from 28 to 32 per cent and our aim is to reach 40 per cent'', he added.

UNI

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