Days after chief minister M K Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the Union government not to allow oil and gas exploration in Cauvery delta districts, ONGC has approached the state environmental impact assessment authority (SEIAA) seeking clearance to drill 10 exploration wells in Ariyalur district.
The ONGC letter circulated widely on Wednesday attracted sharp criticisms from political parties and farmers who have been up against oil exploration in the agrarian region which had been designated a protected special agriculture zone by the previous government.
According to the application dated June 15 submitted to the state government, the oil major plans to drill 10 exploratory wells in Ariyalur district where there is the likelihood of hydrocarbon reserve. ONGC sources said an environmental clearance application and pre-feasibility report have been submitted for Cauvery Basin.
If any oil or gas reserve is found, plans will be afoot to establish development wells by the Cauvery asset section of ONGC in Karaikal that oversees exploration in the delta districts.