CCI nod to 13 power projects,25 oil blocks

* Clearance of oil blocks frees up $4.61 bn investments

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2013 12:47:48 am

The government cleared a slew of infrastructure projects in the power and the oil and gas sectors on Monday,entailing investments to the tune of over Rs 58,000 crore.

In the oil and gas sector,the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) cleared 25 exploration and production blocks out of the 31 blocks where work had been stalled on account of security restrictions imposed by the ministry of defence,freeing up an estimated $4.61 billion (about Rs 25,000 crore) of investments,according to an official statement. The panel also approved 13 power projects entailing investments worth Rs 33,000 crore that were stuck due to various reasons.

The statement issued by the government after the CCI meeting did not give break-up of the oil and gas blocks cleared. The 31 blocks where restrictive conditions were imposed by the defence ministry included 13 of Reliance Industries-BP combine and 15 involved the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

For these blocks,the defence ministry had imposed strict conditions such as requiring companies not to locate any pipelines or structures on the sea surface in the blocks cleared for exploration and production activities.

Also,subsea/submerged permanent structures were to be located more than 100 metres below sea surface or outside the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)/ Indian Air Force (IAF) danger zone area (on sea surface) or Naval exercise areas. The oil industry saw these conditions as impractical and after discussions,the conditions have been partially diluted for now. “Out of 31 blocks,9 blocks have been fully cleared and 16 blocks have been cleared with specific conditions. Due to clearances given at this meeting,investment already made to the extent of $2.71 billion will be put to use and further investment to the extent of $1.9 billion will be made in the exploration activities in the next 3-5 years,” it said.

In the power sector, the CCI reviewed the status of 20 projects,each with investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more,which were pending for different types of approvals and clearances,the official statement said. The 13 projects cleared include 10 transmission,one hydro and two thermal projects,it added. “One has already been recommended by the expert advisory committee of ministry of environment and forests for clearance,” the statement said. “For the other two projects ministry of power has decided not to move the proposal to CCI and is following up with the ministry of coal. For remaining four projects,the matter is being followed up with state governments and other ministries for clearances,” it added.

The projects were identified in transmission,hydro and thermal sector where various clearances are pending mostly with the environment ministry. There were 10 projects from transmission sector awaiting clearances for Stage-I and Stage-II forest clearance from MoEF,three projects from hydro sector and seven projects from thermal sector awaiting clearances from other ministries.

Infra boost

In the oil and gas sector,the CCI cleared 25 blocks out of the 31 where work had been stalled on account of security restrictions imposed by the defence ministry

The panel also approved 13 power projects entailing investments worth Rs 33,000 crore that were stuck due to various reasons

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