Essar Oil discovers 8 tcf of shale gas in Raniganj coalbed methane block, India

Gas drilling rig
Source: Adobe Stock

Eight trillion cubic feet (tcf) of original in-place shale gas resources have been discovered underneath coalbed methane resources owned by Essar Oil – India’s biggest unconventional gas explorer.

The study was undertaken with the support of USTDA (US Trade & Development Agency) by an independent US firm Invenire that has expertise in shale prospecting.

In view of the new find, the company – which currently produces one million scmd (standard cubic metres per day) from its coalbed methane (CBM) Block in Raniganj – announced that it has plans to develop the shale gas reserves after it gets more clarity on the government’s exploration policy.

“We have informed the government about the in-place shale gas resources of around 8 tcf underneath the CBM play in the Raniganj (East) block, at least 3 tcf of which can be recoverable,” Manish Maheshwari, CEO-E&P of Essar said.

“We will develop the shale gas once we get clarity from the government on pricing and other guidelines under HELP.”

“Shale gas got covered under the March 2016 HELP policy and the guidelines are under formalisation for blocks which covers both conventional and unconventional under the same acreages. We are looking forward to those guidelines,” Mr. Maheshwari added.

“We have so far invested over Rs.3,300 crore in developing our CBM block and will invest another Rs.500 crore to achieve the targeted plateau production of 3 scmd from the block.”

Energy-starved India is serious about exploring its shale deposits, estimated by EIA at 96 tcf of technically recoverable resources. The country is currently spending a whopping $160 billion annually importing oil and gas to meet the growing energy demands of its population of 1.25 billion. At present more than 85 percent of India’s domestic demand of oil and gas is met through imports.

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