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India opens bids for shale gas exploration

23rd March 2012

Energy companies for the first time can start bidding to access India's vast shale gas reserves by 2013

Bidding starts now for Indian shale gas

India has opened bidding for shale gas exploration by 2014, confirmed the country’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh. India joins the US, Canada and China in the race to open access to the unconventional resource.

"The mapping of India's shale gas resources has been undertaken and we are working to put in place a regulatory regime for licensing rounds by end 2013," said Singh at the 7th Asia Gas Partnership Summit, in New Delhi from 23-24 March.

Cambay, Assam-Arakan, Gondawana, KG onshore, Cauvery onshore and Indo Gangetic basins have all been identified as having shale gas potential, reported India’s Economic Times on 23 March.

India has so far explored and produced conventional oil and gas as well as unconventional sources such as coal bed methane (CBM) “for which four licensing rounds have been held and commercial production has commenced at Raniganj in West Bengal," said Singh.

"As India has one of the world's largest coal reserves, we want to work with international companies having the requisite experience and expertise for exploitation of coal seam gas," he said.

A National Gas Grid of nearly 30,000 km in length is planned to be built by 2017, said Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy. The network has a capacity of 875 standard cubic metres per day and will take natural gas to different markets across India.

"India's crude gas pipeline capacity of 230 mmscmd [million metric standard cubic metre] is projected to quadruple in the next five years," he said.

The nation's dependence on imported LNG is also projected to grow, said Reddy. "To cater to the increase in imported LNG, we are in the process of increasing our current LNG handling capacity of 13.5m tons per year to about 50m tons per annum by 2017," he said.


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