Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal has sought intervention of the new Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily to help his group firm Cairn India raise output from the Rajasthan oil fields by allowing further exploration the prolific block.

Cairn India is looking to increase Rajasthan field output from current level of 175,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 300,000 bpd and had several months back made an application to the Oil Ministry seeking permission to explore within the ring-fenced development area that contains 25 oil and gas finds.

“The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) provisions permit exploration and Government does not lose any revenue by permitting exploration,” Agarwal wrote to Moily on October 30. .

“The approvals should be granted in a simple manner, without any delay.”

Moily, who took over as the Oil Minister on October 29, promised to look into the matter “for an early resolution.”

“It is unusual to continue only production without new exploration, as you are kindly aware production and exploration goes hand in hand. East day lost can never be recovered,” Agarwal wrote.

Agarwal had written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 6 saying “the Rajasthan PSC and the mining lease have enabling provisions that allow carrying on exploration in development area; however, we have been asked to obtain government approval.”

“As exploration is continuing in other producing blocks in the country, we request government approval for exploration in Rajasthan to enable us to achieve the full production potential,” he had written then.

“Our country’s flagship asset in Rajasthan alone produces 175,000 bpd and at this level will contribute over Rs 15,000 crore annually to Government of India and Government of Rajasthan,” he wrote to Moily on October 30.

Barmer basin in Rajasthan, he said, holds an estimated 7.3 billion barrels of oil and gas in place resource which support production potential of 300,000 bpd.

(This article was published on November 15, 2012)
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