Creation of special cell for single window clearance for E&P projects.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has directed the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to carry out a revamp of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) within three months. The focus should be on strengthening its technical, legal and financial aspects to make it a world class body for better negotiation and monitoring capabilities.

The decision to strengthen the DGH comes in view of the increasing number of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), cases of arbitration and other legal matters. The Petroleum Ministry has also in the past requested that the DGH has to be revamped and a senior official has to be posted as DGH to fulfil the objectives of the organisation. The decision to revamp the DGH was taken at a meeting held in the PMO recently on issues relating to oil and gas.

The PMO thinks that in view of the nature and quantum of work to be discharged by the DGH, the Ministry requested for posting of a senior officer capable of reorganising and strengthening the DGH in such a fashion that it could fulfil its objectives. The DGH, who will be put in place after the revamp, will initiate necessary steps for recruitment of technical staff experienced enough to carry out their task smoothly. At present, the staff of DGH is drawn from various PSUs engaged in exploration of hydrocarbons such as ONGC, Oil India Limited and GAIL India.

Similarly, the PMO and the Petroleum Ministry also agreed that rather than floating a separate Special purpose Vehicle (SPV) for securing statutory/security clearances for NELP blocks in future, a separate cell be set up in the DGH to do this work. The cell will focus only on the task of securing clearances and will most likely start functioning from next month. It was felt that DGH, being a Petroleum Ministry arm, was well suited to deal with the Department of Naval Intelligence and seek environmental clearances too.

The meeting also informed that steps had been initiated to revise the PSCs in order to boost investment in exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

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