no-objection letter. Following this the petroleum ministry asked the explorer to initiate exploration activities in the block. Then on November 1, 2013, the DoS came up with a ‘range clearance memorandum’ that classifies the block as a ‘danger zone’, which once again prevented the companies from going ahead. On December 23, 2013, petroleum ministry wrote to the DoS to re-examine the matter, but the latter has not responded. Frustrated over the confusion over gaining the requisite clearance, ENI on February 4, 2014, told the petroleum ministry that it wanted to surrender the block.
“The basis on which the PSC was entered into no longer survives and performance thereof has become impracticable and useless, having regard to the object and purpose the parties had at the time of its execution. Clearly, therefore, the PSC stands frustrated and we hereby notify the government of our decision to commence exiting the block,” ENI told government.
Similar wrangling forced the other players also to give up the blocks they had bagged under auction.
The 13 oil and gas blocks are located in Mumbai offshore, northeast coast, Andaman and KG Basin.