Vedanta industries is going to drill 35 oil and natural gas wells in Movva, Gudur, Kalindi, and Machilipatnam mandals of Krishna district. It is an onshore project which comes under Kaza Basin with an area comprising approximately 114.93 Km2. The estimated cost of this project is around INR 650 Crores. The average drilling cost per well is estimated to be INR 15 Crore. Thus, total costs towards drilling and associated activities of all 35 wells would be around INR 525 Crores. The EIA report for this project was created by the Eco chem sales and services company.
As part of the Government’s effort to increase domestic production, under the Discovered Small Field (DSF) Policy, the Kaza Basin Onshore block was awarded to Vedanta Limited in 2018. The proposed 35 no’s of the hydrocarbon wells to be drilled are distributed as 14 wells in Movva Mandal; 18 wells in Gudur Mandal; two wells in Kalidindi and one well in Machilipatnam. ONGC has drilled three exploratory wells in the year 1985 in the Kaza structure. Out of the three wells, two wells were found to be dry wells, and one well found to have gas discovery. The successful exploration well has discovered gas in Raghavapuram sands. It was noted that further gas extraction is possible through hydro-fracture of the well. Earlier wells were drilled in the depth of 2300m below the ground level.
Drilling of 35 hydrocarbon wells within the Kaza block area will produce up to 30,000 barrels of oil per day and 30 million metric standard cubic feet of gas per day.
Pollution related to project
Drilling oil wells and processing hydrocarbons will lead to environmental, sound, and water pollution. Dust emissions from the drilling operations are released into the atmosphere and ignition of hydrocarbons will release harmful gases like nitric oxide, carbon monoxide. Usage of water during drilling and in campsites will eventually cause water shortage in the area and Drilling mud and other chemicals will pollute the surface waters. The chemicals used in drilling will be released into the nearby farming lands making them harmful for cultivation. Improper maintenance of wastes will lead to contamination of soil. Drilling and construction activities will result in a temporary increase in ambient noise levels. Proper recycling and disposal of chemicals and other wastes should be the first priority.
The sandstones in the Kaza Basin come under the semi-consolidated rocks category and these are known to have been subjected to compression in oil and gas fields even beyond 2000m depth and created land subsidence all over the world. Drilling in these places results in land destabilization and land subsidence. The same results were experienced while drilling in Godavari districts. Land subsidence will cause water stagnation making the land unfit for agriculture. It also increases the risks of flooding and damaging of buildings.
The Kaza basin is considered as the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh, any harm we create for these fertile lands will definitely affect rice production of the state. Destruction of lands which are giving us food for centuries for oil which won’t last for a few decades is not such a good idea. Development is necessary but it must sustain the environment.
Nandini is a nature lover currently in B.Tech 2nd year. She is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and nature and brings awareness to climate change and other environmental issues. She enjoys watching nature documentaries and listens to a lot of music in her free time.