Great Eastern gives a boost to India's unconventional hydrocarbon dreams

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Giving a boost to India's unconventional hydrocarbon dreams, Great Eastern Energy Corporation on Thursday said that it has 6.63 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale and 2.62 TCF of coal bed methane (CBM) of reserves at its Raniganj (South) block in West Bengal. 

Prashant Modi, MD and CEO, said that the block has original gas in place (OGIP) of up to 9.25 TCF, with an undiscounted value of $13.78 billion and a discounted value of $4.31 billion. "We believe that the shale gas resources can be explored and developed cost-effectively in tandem with our successful ongoing CBM development program. It can be done through the sharing of surface and other infrastructure facilities," he said. The revised estimates were done by independent reserve engineers, Advance Resources International. 

"We are currently planning the initial exploration program for exploiting shale in Raniganj block. Announcement for the same will be made when exploration commences" he said. Great Eastern will be the second such company to come out with unconventional plans after the government in August allowed operators to explore all hydrocarbons - including shale, coal bed methane and hydrates - in an area licensed to it.

Shale gas and oil are found trapped within the shale sedimentary formations, while CBM is gas extracted from coal beds. 

In October, Sudhir Mathur, CEO, Cairn Oil & Gas under Vedanta had said that his company will initiate shale exploration in the month of December.  "The government's continuing transformational policies for this sector will go a long way in attracting investments. It will, therefore, boost India’s energy security and reduce our dependence on imports," Modi added. 

Based on the new government policy, exploration of unconventional hydrocarbon can be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and nomination fields. The uniform licensing plan is in line with the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) and Discovered Small Field (DSF) policies of the government. 

Another CBM player Essar Oil & Gas Exploration and Production too had said that it is planning to invest about Rs 70 billion for developing shale gas potential in its existing coal-bed methane block at Raniganj.  According to 2015 estimates if Schlumberger, India has shale gas and oil resources of 300 to 2,100 trillion cubic feet.

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