KOCHI: India has an estimated 96 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas reserves and the government is eager to tap them. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India have already spent Rs 199.47 crore on shale gas exploration in the country.
To exploit shale gas and oil in the country, the government on October 14, 2013 announced the policy guidelines for exploration and exploitation of shale gas and oil by ONGC and OIL in their on-land Petroleum Exploration Licence and petroleum mining lease areas awarded under the nomination regimes.
“ONGC has drilled a total of 21 wells in 18 blocks for shale gas and oil. OIL has completed geological and geophysical studies and geochemical analysis in its identified areas in its identified areas. Both these entities are carrying out shale gas exploration from their funds. During 2013-16 and 2016-17, ONGC and OIL made an expenditure of Rs 199.47 crore on shale gas exploration. All blocks are is still under exploration stage,” said minister for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan in the Lok Sabha on March 27.
In pursuance of the shale gas exploration policy, ONGC has identified and initiated shale gas and oil exploration activities in 50 areas; and OIL has identified and initiated shale gas exploration activities in six regions. In India, shale oil and gas reserves are found mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“These are positive developments for the natural gas sector. Currently, hope for an increased domestic production is very weak. The scenario may change,” said Sudha Mahalingam, an independent energy analyst and former member of PNGRB.