On May 20, 2020 Public Sector Undertaking(PSU) major Oil India Ltd(OIL) informed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC) gave environmental clearance for extension drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at 7 locations inside the Assam’s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park(NP) from about 1.5 km distance outside the boundary of the forest with the help of the Extended Reach Drilling(ERD) technology by which can reach the target depth of around 3.5 km beneath the surface of the NP without carrying out any drilling activity inside the NP.
- The clearance was given as part of the Centre’s target to reduce 10% imports and the Northeast Vision 2030, & the commercial production from this area shall also enable OIL to meet the same centre’s target
OIL affirmed that use of ERD technology will not disturb the environment and the NP situated in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts
i.To establish the fact that OIL will not enter the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park area, OIL went through an elaborate process to obtain the necessary approvals from statutory bodies like MoEF&CC after fulfilling the stringent guidelines and adhering to various compliances
ii.In order to tap the hydrocarbon resources underneath the Park, the company had approached statutory bodies for obtaining necessary permissions in 2016 on the basis of the ERD technology.
The ERD techniques are widely used to cut hydrocarbon targets far from the surface or areas of the reservoir which otherwise are difficult to access. By using this technology, wells can be drilled up to a depth of about four kilometers from the existing well foundation without entering the protected area.
Union Environment and Forest Minister & Chairman of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) Prakash Javadekar has approved a coal-mining project in the Saleki reserve forest which is a part of the Dihing Patkai Elephant Reserve(a part of Dihing Patkai wildlife sanctuary) spread over Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts through video conference in April. Dihing Patkai is known as the ‘Amazon of the East’.
Union Minister– Prakash Javadekar(Constituency- Maharashtra)
Minister of State– Babul Supriyo(Constituency- Asansol, West Bengal)