Firms asked speed up shale ef­forts

Deccan Chronicle - - Financial - PROMIT MUKHER­JEE, NIDHI VERMA

In­dia is look­ing to ex­pe­dite dis­cov­ery ef­forts to es­tab­lish the coun­try’s shale oil and gas po­ten­tial and has asked com­pa­nies to sub­mit a plan, two in­dus­try sources said on Sun­day.

In late 2013, In­dia gave rights to Oil and Nat­u­ral Gas Corp to ex­plore for shale oil and gas re­serves. How­ever, af­ter years of ex­ploratory re­serves, it has failed to find sig­nif­i­cant re­sources.

In Jan­uary, In­dia’s oil and gas reg­u­la­tor direc­torate gen­eral of hy­dro­car­bons (DGH) held a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous pri­vate and govern­ment com­pa­nies to urge them to pur­sue shale re­sources in the oil and gas blocks al­ready held by them, a source at the reg­u­la­tor said.

“The idea is to bring shale on the map of In­dia or just close the chap­ter once and for all within three years,” an ex­ec­u­tive from one of the com­pa­nies who at­tended the meet­ing said.

In­dia is a gas-starved coun­try and im­ports al­most half of its an­nual nat­u­ral gas con­sump­tion. Prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi wants In­dia to be a gas-based econ­omy and in­crease the share of gas in the coun­try’s en­ergy mix to 15 per cent by 2030 from 6.5 per cent now.

All coal bed meth­ane (CBM) de­vel­op­ers were in­vited to the meet­ing in Jan­uary, the ex­ec­u­tive said. “A joint group plan is also be­ing ex­plored which will act as a plat­form of knowl­edge and in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing which could help in ex­pe­dit­ing shale de­vel­op­ment,” ac­cord­ing to the ex­ec­u­tive.

Cur­rently, CBM gas is pro­duced by three com­pa­nies—Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance In­dus­tries, Ruia brothers owned Es­sar Oil & Gas Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion and Great East­ern En­ergy Corp.

CBM is a kind of nat­u­ral gas which is found in coal de­posits.

State-owned Oil and Nat­u­ral Gas Corp also has CBM blocks. Cur­rently the most promis­ing re­gion of shale de­posits is around the east­ern part of In­dia called as Damodar Val­ley basin, where the first ex­plo­ration for shale is ex­pected to start.

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