NEW DELHI: India and the US will soon intensify the work on development of shale gas in coastal India with more US companies likely to join the exploration process, sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas told Express. A white paper is likely to be released jointly with the US Energy Department and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas soon. India has an estimated 96 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable shale gas reserves, found mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“Shale gas has huge potential. The first set of policy guidelines came in October 2013 and the progress made so far has been good, but it received an impetus with improved India-US relations and that calls for a re-look,” said a senior official in the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons. A US Energy Information Administration report pegs the estimated the global shale gas resources (in 48 countries) at 7,576 tcf.
It is estimated that the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin encloses a series of organically rich shales, containing around 27 tcf of technically recoverable gas. KG basin, located in eastern India, holds the country’s largest shale gas reserves, extending over 7,800 gross square miles with a prospective area of 4,340 square miles, according to India Brand Equity Foundation.
“If the US can become an oil exporter again on the back of the shale revolution, what is stopping the Indian industry doing the same? This is my challenge to you as an industry!” petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had recently said. The petroleum ministry is working on the white paper, which is likely to form the basis for future of shale gas policy and programmes, sources said.
“Shale gas is still under exploration stage and till date no commercial discovery has taken place in the country,” Pradhan had stated in the Lok Sabha on April 10 this year. Most Indian companies are now targeting shale gas reserves as a source of energy in the future. Companies are looking forward to developing joint ventures and technical partnerships with foreign companies to improve capabilities to develop shale reserves.
India’s fuel demand shoots up
India’s fuel demand surged 9.9 per cent in September – the biggest expansion in more than one year – after petrol and diesel consumption soared. India used 16.25 mt of petroleum products in September compared to 14.78 mt in the same period a year ago, according to data released by the oil ministry. The growth was the highest since August 2016, when demand had jumped 18.2 per cent. India, the world’s fastest growing oil consumer, imports 81 per cent of its oil needs. Diesel sales in September surged 16.5 per cent to 6.08 mt while petrol consumption jumped 17.85 per cent to 2.14 mt. Cooking gas increased 3.8 per cent to 1.94 mt.