HC notice to Centre on PIL against single license for exploration of all hydrocarbon resources - EntornoInteligente
Entornointeligente.com /

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre and others on a PIL seeking to declare grant of a single license for exploration and extraction of all hydrocarbon resources as ultra vires and null and void. A bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee issued notice to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Director General of Hydrocarbons and two companies which have been awarded the contract in Tamil Nadu . It posted the matter to November 7 for further hearing. In the public interest litigation filed by ‘Poovulagin Nanbargal” (Friends of Earth), a trust, submitted the Marginal Field Policy (MFP) Resolution published in the central Gazette on October 31, 2015, which provided for single license to enable exploration and production operators to explore and extract all hydrocarbon resources. The resources were covered under the Oilfields Regulation and Development Act, 1948, and Petroleum and Natural Gas (PNG) Rules, 1959. The policy was approved by the Union Cabinet on September 2, 2015, with the objective of bringing marginal fields to the production at the earliest so as to augment the domestic production of oil and gas, it said. Consequently, the Director General of Hydrocarbons in a release on November 21, 2016, stated that 42 companies had submitted 134 e-Bids under the policy (now called Discovered Small Field Policy), the PIL stated. Later, it was announced that licenses were granted in respect of 31 approved contract areas — 23 on land and eight offshore, the petitioner said. The PIL alleged that these licenses ought to have been granted with the stipulation in tune with the definition of petroleum under Rule 3(k) of the PNG Rules. However, the awardees were allowed freedom to explore conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources and any other resources to be identified in future which will fall within the definition of Petroleum and Natural Gas under the PNG Rules, it said. The PIL stated that paragraph 2 of the MFP Resolution was contrary to the provisions of Rule 3(k) read with Rule 4 of the PNG Rules and hence required to be declared null and void.
LINK ORIGINAL: Energy.economictimes.indiatimes


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