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CBM block awarding after secretary level meeting

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) The decision for awarding the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) blocks will be taken up after a full secretary level meeting submits its report to the Cabinet.

Currently the empowered committee, consisting of a Secretary and two Joint Secretaries, is discussing the CBM issue.

In view of some technicalities, the whole issue has been referred to the full committee of the empowered committee to enable the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to take a final decision, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here.

The CCEA was to consider awarding 10 coal bed methane (CBM) blocks today, including two, whose evaluation has been contested by the Anil Ambani Group. But the decision on this has been deferred, Mr Dasmunsi said.

The consortium led by the Anil Ambani Group is a winner in four blocks while British energy major BP Exploration is likely to get one. Oil regulator DGH has recommended award of two blocks to Coalgas Mart and three to Australia's Arrow Energy, sources said.

Meanwhile the oil regulator, Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has reiterated that there is no discrimination in awarding Coal Bed Methane (CBM) blocks and dismissed Anil Ambani Group (ADAG) allegation of showing any undue favour.

Mr Sibal said ADAG never questioned the criteria for bid evaluation before the tender closed on June 30 and said that the DGH had recommended award of 10 CBM blocks strictly in line with the criteria laid down in the Notice Inviting Offers.

After the evaluation on July 28, the Reliance consortium raised doubts for technical capability in two blocks.

Mr Sibal said that there also was a need to encourage new entrants in the sector.

UNI/RT CS KP1456

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