Reliance gets clearance to drill offshore Tamil Nadu with strict environmental guidelines

MUMBAI, India -- India's Reliance Industries has received environmental clearance to drill eight additional exploratory wells in Block DY-III-D5, offshore the southern state of Tamil Nadu to ascertain reservoir capacity and commercial viability of the field.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is concerned about the environmentally sensitive Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary and the Gulf of Mannar located 80 km and 195 km from the block boundary respectively.

The company has to ensure that gas produced during the drilling is flared with appropriate flaring booms and to make sure that there is no impact on flora and fauna caused by the drilling of the offshore wells, while taking conservation measures to protect the marine animals/biota in the region.

Reliance is also required to monitor the petroleum and heavy metals concentration in the marine fish species regularly and submit report to the government. The government further suggested that all hazardous waste generated by the rig and other offshore facilities involved in the drilling should be properly treated, transported to shore and disposed of in accordance with the norms.

The ministry is also requiring infrastructure facilities near the offshore installations so that booms, skimmers/chemical dispersants could be deployed immediately in case of oil leakage from the installations. Effort is required to curtail the oil slick within 500 m of the installation.

Further, Reliance is required to submit six monthly reports on the status of the compliance with the stipulated environmental conditions, including results of monitored data.

Point Calimire Wildlife & Bird Sanctuary on Tamil Nadu coast.