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Oil India faces tough choice in Mizoram

AIZAWL , February 3, 2020 [NE Now]: Oil India Limited (OIL) is uncertain about starting to drill its fifth and final Phase-1 well at the once-promising Mizoram ‘frontier’ block MZ-ONN-2004/1 .

The company’s directors, who held their last Board meeting in Aizawl on January 23 and lunched the following day at the site of exploration well Thenzawl-1, remained undecided.

Oil India sources told Northeast Now the company could not complete the work during Production Exploration License (PEL) extension period.

With no more extensions likely and the huge expenses involved if just one well was to be drilled if the extension was given, most Oil India managers feel it is time to give up on the well, more so because nothing has been found in the four wells drilled in Mizoram so far.

Oil India may also suffer a huge penalty since the DG (Hydrocarbons) in September 2017 granted a three-year Phase-I extension until June 2020 to Oil India to drill three remaining wells from its five-well minimum work programme.

Since then it has drilled only two — Phulmawi-1 and Thenzawl-1, where drilling continues.

Two earlier wells, Aibawk-1 and Keifang-1, were inconclusive, while the fate of the fifth proposed well at Pangzawl (location MZ-9) is uncertain.

The OIl India board meeting in Aizawl was aimed at resolving the issue of a possible huge penalty but it is not clear whether a ‘closed door’ meeting between Oil India chairman S C Mishra and Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on January 24 actually helped in resolving the issue.

The company bosses are totally confused, whether to keep working the  3213-sq km MZ-ONN-2004/1 block that covers 15 per cent of the state’s 21,087-sq km land area, is a good idea.

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