Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Tuesday is understood to have conveyed to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry that it would stop all oil and gas exploration activities if it was not granted the promised drilling holiday to cover for the acute shortage of rigs.

“The company made a presentation to the Ministry officials seeking relief for not being able to meet its commitment for drilling wells on 14 blocks during 2006 and mid-2009 when there was an acute shortage of drilling rigs,” officials in the Petroleum Ministry said.

Firms such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and RIL have not been able to meet their work commitments for the blocks or areas they had won under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds and an Empowered Committee of Secretaries has twice cleared grant of a three-year drilling holiday or moratorium. However, the Petroleum Ministry is yet to decide on when to approach the Union Cabinet on the issue despite the issue having significant importance. “RIL informed the Ministry that it had diverted its rigs on government’s request for expediting production of natural gas from Krishna Godavari basin D6 fields in national interest and so it was unable to meet its entire drilling commitment on other blocks. It said if the drilling holiday till December 2010 was not given, it would pull out of the blocks,” the official stated.

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