- The Union government has set up a panel for better coordination among the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas(MoPNG),the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC) and the state governments.
- The panel will assist in speeding up hydrocarbon exploration-related clearances.The panel has Cabinet Secretary as chairman and secretaries of home,petroleum and environment will be members.
- It will also have a representative from the NITI Aayog and chief secretaries of petroleum-producing states like Assam,Gujarat, Rajasthan,Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
- The panel was formed as there are differences among MoPNG and MoEF on whether exploration should be treated as mining.Further,many onshore and offshore projects under Open Acreage Licensing Policy(OALP) are stuck with the MoEFCC.
- Another issue is the companies involved in exploration state that exploration activities be considered as a temporary vegetation change which is objected by MoEF.
- OALP is a part of Hydrocarbons Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP).It aims at enabling faster survey and assessment of areas with oil and gas potential.Under the programme,exploration companies can select their operation blocks without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
- HELP is a contractual and fiscal model for award of hydrocarbon acreages towards exploration and production.It brings all hydrocarbons such as oil, gas, coal bed methane under a single licensing framework.
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