Skip to main content

Top Gujarat PSU faces fresh environmental hurdle in commercial production of gas "produced" off Andhra coast

By Rajiv Shah 
The Gujarat government’s powerful state public sector undertaking (PSU), Gujarat State Public Corporation (GSPC), has faced a major environmental hurdle, putting its Rs 2,030 crore project to go in for commercial production of the gas it claims to have found in the KG Basin, off Andhra coast, in jeopardy. Asking the GSPC to “defer” the project till certain conditions are fulfilled, sources in Gujarat’s energy and petrochemicals department said, the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union ministry of environment and forests has refused to give blanket coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearance for laying down underground gas pipeline, optical fibre cable (OFC), an effluent disposal pipeline – all of which is proposed to pass through CRZ area of Yanam-Puducherry, along the Andhra Pradesh coast – as also the proposal to set up an onshore gas terminal off Mallavaram and a process-cum-living quarter platform at offshore in KG Basin, Andhra Pradesh.

The GSPC had argued that both these proposals were "component of a single project”, hence the EAC should consider all of it as a single project. The GSPC said, after “discovery” of gas in the Kakinada-Godavari (KG) basin’s block 8, GSPC had decided to develop the field as Deendayal Development Field. Environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) was obtained for the field development, which consisted of setting up of well head platform (WHP) at offshore ( KG 8 location), drilling of 15 development wells from WHP, laying of multiphase produced fluid pipeline from offshore (WHP) to land fall point (LFP), and from LFP to onshore gas terminal (OGT) at Mallavaram, laying of pipeline for disposal of treated effluent from OGT at identified marine outfall location, and processing facilities for 240 million metric standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFT), and a condensate.
The EAC note, which refused the CRZ clearance, says, "Subsequently, with receipt of consent for establishment (CFE) from the State Pollution Control Board, physical construction work for the above field development commenced. In the mean time, with availability of additional well test data, capacities of some of the already envisaged facilities were required to be enhanced, and some new facilities were required to be added in the development scheme so that it continued to remain effective and optimum.”
It is against this backdrop that the GSPC submitted an application for obtaining CRZ clearance for process-cum-living quarter platform connected to WHP (with gas dehydration, produced water treatment, living quarter facility) located at offshore, apart from other facilities. The GSPC simultaneously asked for enhancement of processing capacity of onshore gas terminal (natural gas – 240 MMSCFD to 300 MMSCFD, of capacity of the captive power plant (from four to 24 MW), and “evacuation of process sale gas from OGT through sale gas pipeline to East West Pipeline (EWPL) of Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd (RGTIL)”, to quote from the EAC note.
The GSPC also wanted raw water pipeline (74 Km long) to draw raw water from the upstream of Dowlaiswaram barrage. “This proposal was considered by Andhra Pradesh state Coastal Zone Management Authority (APCZMA) on November 7, 2012 and recommended the project to MoEF”, the note said.
During the discussion on these issues, the note clarified, the GSPC was asked to submit: (1) details of the critical environmental issues identified during laying of pipeline, (2) environment clearance for enhancement of captive power plant, under consideration of environmental appraisal committee (EAC) of the thermal committee, which has also sought examining the requirement of wildlife clearance in view of Coringa Sanctuary located in 2.5 km distance, and (3) the plan of the pipeline to pass through the mangroves. “In view of the foregoing observations, the committee recommended to defer the proposal. The proposal shall be reconsidered after the above observations are addressed and submitted”, the top note said.
The EAC decision to ask the GSPC to defer its Rs 2030 crore worth of facilities comes after the Andhra Pradesh government took strong objection to the GSPC for failing to take necessary forest and wildlife clearances for its proposed facilities. It reportedly asked GSPC executives to “stop work” of laying down a crucial submarine pipeline to take gas from KG Basin to its onshore gas terminal (OGT) via an area which is 10 km of the Corianga sanctuary without necessary clearances. It asks them to explain “why action shouldn’t be taken” for violating forest and wildlife laws.
It is said, the GSPC “only took environmental clearance” and thought it was “enough.” After nearly two years, its top bosses found that environmental clearance was not enough, and that forest and wildlife clearance, under their respective Central laws, would also need to be taken, without which KG Basin gas cannot reach OGT. “Hectic preparations began to prepare papers”, a senior official said, adding, “The delay in failing to take necessary clearances will mean commercial production of KG Basin gas will have to be postponed by at least two years. ” The notice to “stop work” was delivered after GSPC failed to respond to two earlier warnings.
The work for the Rs 2,030 crore OGT was under progress at Mallavaram, and nearly 30 per cent of it had been complete. Under instructions of chief minister Narendra Modi, OGT it is said, was put on fast track, with the expectation that ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, GSPC would go into full-scale commercial operation. This would help neutralize some of the criticism being leveled against GSPC for creating hype around the KG operations, where instead of the prematurely announced 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas only 2 tcf was found. Nobody knows how of much of the 2 tcf is actually recoverable. Meanwhile, GSPC is search of a foreign partner who can help make maximum utilization of the KG gas.

Comments

TRENDING

A tale of horror and fraud: Profits in trillions of dollars for vaccine manufacturers?

By Aruna Rodrigues*  John Leake is a best-selling and “experienced non-fiction, true crime author”. Having just read what must be described as an extraordinary ‘telling’ of the Covid-19 saga, his book “The Courage to Face Covid-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex”, co-authored with Peter A McCullough, MD, MPH, is the narration of true crime on a scale that could top the list in the history of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. The book chronicles the unique role of national governments across the world and their health agencies, led by the USA and WHO, which followed an agenda that led to completely avoidable fatalities numbering several million. The question is why? The usual culprits are money and power. But to ascribe cause to these two is woefully insufficient. The sheer magnitude of the ‘dark agenda’ – coordinated and played out by governments, health agencies, the medical establishment (hospitals, doctors and chemists) and the massive a

You promised 50 lakh houses, give us one: Ahmedabad migrant women's plea to Modi

Women display letters containing rakhi for PM    By Hirabhai Solanki, Bhartiben Dantani, Ramesh Shrivastav*  Poor labouring families, including seasonal or long-term migrants of nearly 15 squatter settlements -- working as construction and casual workers and petty vendors, providing cheap but critically important labour for Ahmedabad city, living under plastic sheetings -- have reminded the Gujarat and Central Governments about the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of building 50 lakh dwellings, wherein every pavement dweller and homeless would be given a decent home by the end of 2022. Holding a meeting in Ahmedabad under the aegis of the Majur Adhikaar Manch, they also referred to the appeal of the Prime Minister to poor and labouring women, seeking his support as brother by sending rakhis to protect their humble basti dwellings and provide them with decent housing, which is secure for them and their families. So far, about 300 women have posted rakhis to the Prime Ministe

A countdown to disaster: Breach in fly-ash bunds of Nagpur's thermal power plants

Fly-ash dyke, Koradi thermal power plant  By Dhwani Shah, Deepmala Patel*  Last month the residents of several villages of Nagpur district woke up to the nightmare of being inundated with fly-ash. Located in the north of Nagpur city are Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations which have their ash dykes in the vicinity. On July 10, 2022 at 3 am, the ash dyke of the Khaparkheda thermal power station broke, leading to ash contaminating the Kanhan river. Though the authorities claimed to have acted quickly and the fly ash dumping in the river was stopped, the claim stood to be misleading and false. Even today, the Kanhan river continues to be polluted with fly-ash, and the water supply to the city is affected. Not only did ash dyke of the Khaparkheda power station break, on July 16, 2022, the ash bund of the Koradi thermal power plant also broke. Fly-ash and water stored in the dyke gushed downstream to six villages -- drowning houses, water bodies and farmlands. With such large-

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

RSS, Sangh Parivar consider tricolour as "state flag" and not "national flag"

By Teesta Setalvad* Today, when the nation has been independent for 67 years, the Sangh Parivar is set to launch ‘Tiranga yatras’ and Satyagrahas to defend the honour of the flag and the nation. Yet when the Indian people were involved in the decades-long struggle for freedom against British imperialism, the RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the struggle. When thousands of people faced lathis, bullets and jail sentences for hoisting the tiranga and participated all over the country in satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements against the British Raj, the Sangh publicly took the stand that it would not take part in the movement and seldom missed the opportunity of assuring the British rulers that they would keep to the right side of colonial law and avoid any clash with the authorities. Of course the reason given for this was that the Sangh was secretly strengthening itself and would take on British imperialism only when it was strong enough to do so! A simil

'Grossly inadequate': NREGA allocation 0.29% of GDP, World Bank recommended 1.6%

By Rajiv Shah  A civil society tracker, seeking to periodically analyse the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), has said that NREGA budgetary allocation is only 0.29% of GDP and 1.85% of the total government expenditure of the financial year 2022-23, which is grossly inadequate. Thus, “As per estimates of researchers of the World Bank, for NREGA to run robustly, its allocation must at least be 1.6% of the GDP.” Prepared by the People’s Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), a group of activists, academics and members of people’s organizations, who came together to advocate for NREGA in 2004 in order to catalyse discussion and strengthen the top Government of India rural jobs guarantee scheme, the tracker states, the NREGA budget as percentage of the total government expenditure has also decreased -- it stands at 1.85% for FY 2022-23, just about half the level in FY 2020-21 (3.65%). The tracker, titled “Meagre Funds and Unlawfully Low Wages: How

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Since 2015 Govt of India didn't allocate single rupee to Gujarat for RTI training, awareness

By Pankti Jog*  The Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India (GoI) has allocated Rs 8.7 crore to Maharashtra for conducting Right to Information (RTI) training and awareness between 2015 to 2022. Of this, Rs 5.9 crore has gone to the Maharashtra State Training Institute, YASHADA, and Rs 3.01 crore have gone to the State Information Commission, Maharashtra. Gujarat, on the other hand, has not received even a single rupee over the last seven years for RTI programmes. Even Gujarat’s State Information Commission too has not not received any funds since 2005. RTI is one of the effective tools to bring transparency and accountability in the administration, thus improve governance. If citizens are aware, they would participate in a more meaningful manner in governance. They would effectively monitor planning and expenses of public programmes. Indeed, it is necessary that RTI is taken to every citizen, for which the government needs to conduct awareness drives and training

Anti-untouchability brass coin yatra to Delhi getting 'overwhelming' response: Macwan

By Our Representative  Gujarat’s top Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan, who is currently leading a week-long procession to Delhi carrying a 1,111 kg brass coin with the pointed question embossed on it, “Will the 1947 dream of untouchability free India be a reality in 2047?”, has reiterated that the removal of untouchability in India is Dalits’ primary concern, and not opposition to the new Parliament building. The march began in Ahmedabad on August 1 at 8:00 am amidst refusal of the Gujarat police a day earlier refusing to give the permission for the procession, which involves a small truck carrying the huge brass coin, another one with an Ambedkar statue, two trucks full of about 25 lakh one rupee coins donated by Dalits across India, and six buses with 300 Dalit activists. The brass coin has the image of BR Ambedkar on one side, and of Lord Buddha, on the other. Starting at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), founded by Macwan to provide technical-cum-empowerment training to the underpriv

Quit India stir: What archives say on Hindutva leaders 'colluding' with British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*  On the eve of 80th anniversary of the glorious Quit India Movement 1942 [QIM], we must evaluate the anti-national role of the Hindutva flag-bearers (who shamelessly claim to be the original nationalists) in India's anti-colonial freedom struggle. QIM also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution) was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to ‘Do or Die’ in his Quit India speech delivered in Mumbai at the Gowalia Tank Maidan (renamed as August Kranti Maidan) on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas. The British swiftly responded with mass detentions on August 8th itself. The contemporary official documents confirm that over 100,000 arrests were made which included the total top leadership of Congress including Gandhi, mass fines were levied and demonstrators were subjecte