Takes up the matter with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry

The additional crude oil find announced by Cairn India has run into trouble with its partner Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) expressing its “displeasure'' over the issue and the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) having written to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) asking it not to take note of the new announcement on oil discovery.

Sources in the Petroleum Ministry said that the matter had been taken up with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry by ONGC which is peeved over the unilateral announcement by Cairn India over its additional crude oil find without consulting ONGC which is a 30 per cent partner in the Rajasthan Barmer find.

The Indian subsidiary of the U.K.-based Cairn Energy had last month raised estimates of in-place reserves at its Rajasthan field to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) from 3.7 billion boe. The company had also raised its estimates on potential reserves to 6.5 billion boe from 4 billion boe.

In its communication dated March 26 to SEBI, the DGH has stated that there is only 2.1 billion boe of approved resources at Cairn India's Rajasthan field. In the letter, the DGH, S. K. Srivastava, has stated that resources for the Rajasthan block, for which the estimates have been raised, are 2.1 billion boe only. Cairn is the operator in the block, ONGC is the licensee and a partner in the field.

“Those fields for which the field development plan has been approved by the management committee, which constitutes representatives from the government, DGH, operator and the licensee, the resources are 2.1 billion boe,” the official added. ONGC is clearly unhappy with the way Cairn India has preferred to move on the issue making a unilateral announcement without even consulting it.

ONGC Chairman and Managing Director R. S. Sharma said his company had taken up the issue with Cairn India over the announcement without consulting ONGC. Interestingly, ONGC officials or any government nominee were not present at the gathering held to make the announcement last month.

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