Great Eastern, Essar seek approval for shale plans

04 November 2019

Great Eastern Energy Corporation and Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production have approached the West Bengal government for amendments in their existing mining leases, to enable shale production from their blocks in the Raniganj area.

The two are major coal-bed methane (CBM) producers. The development comes after the central government eased the rules on the exploration of unconventional hydrocarbons. That was done in August last year when the Union Cabinet cleared a policy in this regard. An operator can now explore shale, CBM, hydrates and all such unconventional hydrofules in existing fields.

Essar is expected to have shale gas potential of around 1.6 tcf, for which the company could invest around Rs. 7,000 crore. Essar is reportedly producing around 0.45 million standard cubic metres a day (mscmd) of CBM from its Raniganj East block.

According to industry officials, as compared to conventional players, CBM producers will be having more synergy in shale production on water requirements, gas evacuation, and handling facilities.

Based on studies conducted by the American government's Energy Information Administration, India has an estimated reserve of 584 tcf in shale gas and 87 billion barrels of shale oil in four basins Cambay Onland, Damodar, Krishna-Godavari Onland and Cauvery Onland. Potential reserves from other basins are expected to boost these numbers.