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RIL can't deploy expats easily

business Updated: Jun 08, 2011 22:43 IST
Anupama Airy

Even as Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is struggling to arrest the decline in gas production from its KG-D6 eastern offshore block, the company is saddled with yet another problem concerning security clearances by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to the expatriates working at its offshore facilities.

In a May 30 letter to the petroleum ministry, RIL has said restrictions in granting clearances to expatriates may lead to "choking our operations" and could cause "huge financial losses in terms of idle assets, services and personnel."

The MHA, which was so far allowing movement of expatriates from one offshore facility to the other under its one year security clearance, has now put a specific restriction that if the expatriate changes the block of stay within the validity period of security clearance accorded to him, then a fresh security clearance needs to be taken.

With hundreds of expats working at its various offshore facilities, Reliance said that seeking fresh security clearance every time the expats move was not practical besides being time consuming and a costly affair.

All operators have to take clearance from the defence ministry in getting clearances for all rigs and vessels deployed in the offshore areas.

In addition, clearance from MHA is required for the expat personnel to carry out exploration and production work in the blocks allotted under New Exploration and Licensing Policy.