Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (EOGEPL) will invest a total of ₹3,000 crore to increase its gas production to 5 MSCMD by FY29 from its Raniganj coal bed methane (CBM) block in West Bengal.

EOGEPL currently accounts for around 65 per cent of India’s total CBM production. So far, the company has invested ₹5,000 crore, which includes ₹500 crore towards digging of wells by FY25-end.

The firm, part of the Essar Group, will now invest an additional ₹2,500 crore to increase its output with the aim to account for 5 per cent of India’s gas production in the next five years.

“We are following a systematic approach to well-revival through world-class technology to enhance production. We will be drilling 200 wells by FY25-end and then another 200 wells by FY27 to increase gas production,” EOGEPL CEO Pankaj Kalra told businessline on the sidelines of the India Energy Week (IEW) 2024 here.

To meet the FY25 target, the companywill invest ₹700 crore. It will invest ₹1,800 crore to drill additional 200 horizontal wells by FY27-end to enhance gas output, he added.

Reducing imports

Kalra emphasised that EOGEPL’s endeavour is to accelerate the clean energy transition. CBM emits 49 per cent less carbon than coal, 27 per cent less than diesel and 15 per cent less than propane, respectively.

Besides, CBM will play a critical role in India’s energy mix in the future, considering the country imports almost half of its natural gas requirement. CBM produced in India is around $5 cheaper than imported gas, he pointed out.

India has prognosticated CBM resources of 91.8 trillion cubic feet (TCF). Currently, CBM resources are to the tune of 62.8 TCF (across 33 blocks). The government has, so far, awarded 21,117 sq km of area for CBM and has awarded 39 blocks with exploration initiated in 10,670 sq km.

During April-December of FY24, India’s cumulative CBM production stood at 324.70 million standard cubic metres (MSCM).

India, which imported 22,896 MSCM natural gas in April-December of FY24 for almost $10 billion, produced 26,685 MSCM and consumed 49,580 MSCM during the period.

In FY23, the world’s third-largest energy consumer imported 26,304 MSCM of gas, while production stood at 33,664 MSCM. The country consumed 59,969 of natural gas last year. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) import bill stood at almost $18 billion.