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CCI clears 25 oil blocks with $4.61 billion investment

New Delhi: After clearing five "No-Go" areas for oil and gas exploration, the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) on Monday eased stringent conditions imposed by Defence Ministry on another 25 blocks, freeing $4.61 billion investments.
"The CCI at its meeting held today cleared 25 exploration and production blocks for continued exploration of oil and gas, out of 31 blocks where work had been stopped on account of security restrictions imposed by Ministry of Defence," an official statement said here.

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While the statement did not give break-up of the blocks cleared, the 31 blocks where restrictive conditions were imposed included 13 of Reliance Industries-BP combine, 15 of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) or its lead consortium, two blocks of Santos of Australia and one block of Cairn India-led consortium.
For these blocks, the Defence ministry had imposed stringent conditions like asking companies not to locate any pipelines or structures on sea surface in the blocks cleared for exploration and production activities.
Subsea/submerged permanent structures, if any, 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 substantially diluted 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 USD 2.71 billion will be put to use and further investment to the extent of USD 1.9 billion will be made in the exploration activities in the next 3-5 years," it said.
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