Cairn Energy keen to explore oil fields in Bihar

Tuesday, 24 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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PATNA: British oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy Search Ltd (CESL) is keen to embark on an oil exploration drive in Bihar.

CESL has shown interest in undertaking work for crude exploration in the state's Purnea basin, said M.A. Ibrahimi, secretary in the Bihar government's department of mines and geology.

"If things go smoothly, CESL may start work for oil exploration in Bihar soon," he told IANS.

Ibrahimi said a high-level CESL team visited Patna Monday and held talks with senior government officials to obtain a petroleum exploration licence.

The Indian government recently invited global tenders for exploration. The bidding for obtaining licence for exploration was held in September last year.

The Purnea basin attracted quite a few participants in the international competitive bidding under the fourth round of the new exploration licensing policy.

Under the new policy, the federal government has earmarked 27 areas in Bihar for oil exploration.

According to independent estimates, the find of the Purnea basin is likely to be as high as 465 million tonnes of crude and natural gas. Experts feel the fuel can be tapped after drilling 4,400 metres.

Officials say huge reserves of petroleum have been found in an area of 57,000 sq km in the Gangetic plains of the Purnea basin.

In 1964-65, the petroleum ministry started a survey to gauge the potential of the basin.

Bihar's Minister of Mines and Geology Sita Ram Singh said work for oil exploration would come as a major boost for the state, which is facing a massive resource crunch.

If the basin yields crude and natural gas, the state government will get 10 percent royalty for every tonne.

Besides Purnea, the petroleum ministry had also conducted explorations in Raxaul in East Champaran district near the India-Nepal border, Ganauli and Gandak in West Champaran and Madhubani.

Source: IANS
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