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ONGC clarifies on oil spillage
Published on 10 Sep. 2010 12:35 AM IST
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Responding to a statement made by Rajya Sabha MP Khekiho Zhimomi that ONGC had not responded to pleas by Changpang landowners to take up the environment issue arising out of spillage of oil from wells despite being “morally and legally liable to meet the environmental challenge”, GGM Basin Manager ONGC Dr.B.S.Josyulu has issued a clarification on the matter.
According to Dr Josyulu, ONGC suspended operational activities at Changpang in May 1994 as per directives of the state government but did so after adopting precautionary measures by sealing and subduing all oil wells in line with its reputation as the ‘Greenest Company’ in India and known for its ‘best-in-class safety and environmental protection practices’.
Since ONGC had not undertaken any oil field activities after suspension of operations since May 1994,Josyulu said it cannot be ruled out that spillage could have been due to long periods of non-maintenance and tampering of the production equipment, causing leakages in well sites.
He said in the light of concerted efforts of the state government,centre and ONGC to resume exploration and production, ONGC assured that its prime focus would be to look into the concerns of oil spillage at Changpang.
He also said the Joint Study Groups formed between Canoro Resources Ltd(CRL) and ONGC constituted to study socio economic and environmental concerns, identified all non-complaince and non-conformity in respect of environmental guidelines and notification by the Ministry of Environment and remedial measures for an environmental clean up operations.
Dr Josyulu also pointed out that a meeting with Nagaland chief minister and union petroleum minister on November 1,2007 the ONGC’s Director(Exploration)reiterated that all environmental concerns at Changpang would be suitably addressed as one of its preliminary activities on resuming oil field operations in Nagaland.
At the January 31,2008 meeting in the office of then Development Commissioner Lalthara, between the state government,PCB,ONGC and G&M department, over the issue of oil spillage at Changpang, ONGC had written to the Addl C.S.and Dev.Commissioner on February 19,2008 for signing the MoU for resumption of oil field activities.
Further, Josyulu said on February 21,2008 ONGC Director(Exploration) in a letter to the Addl. C.S.sought a way forward in obtaining assurance from the state on safety and security of ONGC engineers and scientists so that restoration process could be initiated by deploying state-of-the art equipment and processes apart from joint awareness campaign in Changpang.
Dr Josyulu lamented that despite “persuasive follow-up” from the ONGC over obtaining assurances of safety and security for ONGC employees, an obligation of the local authorities, response was still awaited.
He asserted that ONGC can take remedial measures only when allowed to enter the area(Changpang)with necessary safety and security assurances from the state government and land owners, for its men and material.

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