Of the 52 oil and gas blocks which are awaiting clearances from the defence and environment ministries, the oil ministry plans to request Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to expedite nod for 20 offshore exploration blocks.
Speedy clearance for these blocks would benefit prospective contractors like RIL, Cairn, BP, BHP Billiton, ONGC.
Despite these firms having signed production-sharing contracts, they are unable to develop these blocks because of want of approvals. These blocks were awarded to firms under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) rounds.
Of the 52 blocks awaiting clearances, 22 are operated by ONGC, 15 by Reliance Industries, five by BHP Billiton, three by Cairn Energy, two by Santos and one each by BG Group, BP and ENI.
According to official data, the companies have already invested $12.4 billion for exploration and development activities in these blocks.
It is learnt that Directorate General for Hydrocarbons, the technical arm of the oil ministry, has already given its clearances for its blocks which were under review.
Government set up CCI under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to oversee delays in approvals for large infrastructure projects in sectors such as energy, railways, roads and highways, airports.