One of the major explorer and producer of oil and gas, Cairn India Ltd. has sought from the oil ministry the rights to explore unconventional shale gas in the prolific Rajasthan block.
"We believe that the draft shale gas policy which solicited public comments in August 2012 was forward looking when it stated that 'right of first refusal will be offered to the existing contractors'. However, the discrimination between NELP and pre-NELP blocks (in the draft policy now prepared) will defeat the purpose," Cairn CEO, P Elango had written in a note to Oil Secretary.
As per the ministry's draft policy for shale gas exploration, operators of block awarded under New Exploration Policy (NELP) since 2000 are given the first right of refusal to exploit the unconventional resource. However, operators of the pre-NELP blocks are not conferred with the same rights.
The company has demanded that the "first right of refusal should be available to all currently operating blocks, irrespective of pre-NELP or NELP, to ensure consistency and uniform implementation of the shale gas policy."
"Existing licenses/leases should have the exclusive rights to explore for and develop all hydrocarbon resources encountered in a block and/or shale, which is just another form of hydrocarbon resource," Elango added.