India To Expedite Shale Gas Exploration

March 24, 2013Indiaby EW News Desk Team

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India’s government will unveil its shale gas policy within the next two weeks, said oil minister Veerappa Moily on Sunday, with the world’s fourth largest oil consumer hoping to reduce its energy imports and rein in a widening current account deficit.

Moily, who was speaking in New Delhi, said that the government saw shale gas as a “game changer”; and pointed to how the U.S. was gradually cutting its gas imports to demonstrate the potential of shale.

"In U.S., the advent of shale gas has transformed the energy landscape over the past six years. It has made U.S. a gas surplus nation from a gas importing country," Moily said, as cited by the Press Times of India.

“They have done it in six years, we can also do that,” he added, according to The Telegraph in India.

Moily told the press that a draft shale oil/gas policy was already in place, while the Indian Cabinet would vote to approve it in the next two weeks. The Indian Oil Ministry is likely to further unveil a new coal bed methane exploration policy that will tap an estimated 92 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, Moily said.

According to Reuters, India further hopes to emulate China, who are on course to pump 6.5 billion cubic metres of shale gas in 2015. The government has identified six basins — Cambay, Assam-Arakan, Gondwana, KG onshore, Cauvery onshore and the Indo-Gangetic basins — for carving out blocks to tap the unconventional fuel.

"We can not offer existing blocks for shale gas exploration to other companies. However, in future we may have a single round and companies will be allowed to commercially exploit whatever they think is more profitable," noted oil secretary Vivek Rae.

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During the same press conference, Moily further claimed that India could become self-reliant in crude oil production by 2030.

"We are taking every possible initiative to work towards our goal of attaining self-sufficiency in petroleum," he said, as cited by NetIndian News Network.

"China has seen a doubling of gas production in the last six years (2005-2011). The US has seen a tenfold increase in shale gas production over the last six years. Thus, like China and US, we too can change our energy landscape in short span," he said.

“About 133 billion barrels of prognosticated resources remain to be unlocked through exploration,” Moily further claimed. “As you will appreciate, this will be possible only by speedy implementation of new exploration programmes across the country.”

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"Even as we are trying to enhance domestic production through numerous policy measures, we are working to create enabling and conducive environment to promote investments, by making fiscal terms that are simple to administer," he said.

“This will improve the overall governance mechanism of the upstream oil & gas industry and will act as a confidence building measure to attract the much needed risk capital and newer technologies.”

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