A welcome threat

A welcome threat

The European Union as a part of their “Cap and trade" policy (Re: “The eco-protectionism threat", Mint, 22 June) may not import goods from vendors in India if they don’t have required carbon credits. If it is a threat or even eco-capitalism I welcome it. Our air, water and soil are heavily polluted than anywhere else in the world. We should, therefore, have emission norms on our own and for our sake twice as strict as anywhere else. Instead, we call it a threat. That’s a shame. Be that as it may, I welcome it because we work only under a threat. We need Asiads and Commonwealth Games to build roads, crack a few officials’ heads to get the trains back on track, burn or ransack discoms’ offices and your power is back on. If we can clean up this environmental mess even under eco-terrorism, it will be a good thing.

—Manojit Bhowmik

Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been with Imperial Energy since the early days and witnessed the remarkable growth of the company through a highly successful exploration and appraisal programme, I can say that it is inconceivable that subsurface data sets can be fabricated on such a scale in order to increase reserves (Re: “An oil fraud in Russia", Mint 18 June).

Indeed, the rapid reserves increase we were achieving as a result of our new exploration caught the attention of the Russian authorities two years prior to the sale of the company. A thorough investigation was carried out and no irregularities were found. Reserves were independently estimated by external auditors on the basis of data submitted to them upon request. Additionally, reserves booked separately under the Russian system are, on a field by field basis, either higher or similar to those estimated by external Western auditors.

Reserves calculated prior to sale of the company were based on new oil and gas discoveries made by Imperial. Reserves estimated prior to takeover of Imperial were made on the basis of higher oil prices.

However, today there is a lower barrel price meaning that many reservoirs that are proved to contain oil are effectively uneconomic. It is not difficult to understand a foreign operator feeling frustration in producing oil from Siberian oil fields. In my experience these fields are some of the most difficult anywhere in the world to produce. Reserves are estimated on the percentage chance of achieving economic production and converting oil and gas reserves seen in exploration tests into oil in the pipeline is no simple task. It requires substantial investment and also skilled and experienced technical specialists usually only found in larger companies. Production forecasts and peak oil potential will vary considerably in the hands of different operating companies and the bottom line is that Siberia, though containing huge reserves, is not going to give up her oil that easily.

—Martin J.R. Gee

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and the resultant damage to several states in the US is enormous. BP has been accused of overconfidence, negligence and cost cutting. Due to the great damage to marine life, fishing activities have been greatly affected. This has led to huge job losses, hardship to thousands of families and economic losses running into billions of dollars. Millions of barrels of crude oil continue to gush out, spoiling the environment. Environmental clean-up is going to be a Herculean task.

India has a lot of oil wells along its shores. How safe are they? Are those who are in charge of drilling adopting safety standards according to current accepted international practices? Is there an independent authority to monitor and enforce strictly these standards? It is time India learnt its lessons from the BP tragedy. It should adopt the highest safety standards in its sea shore oil drilling activities. If anything untoward happens, it may be a very heavy burden on the country’s economy.

—K. Venkataraman


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