CIL keen on tapping shale gas

PTI Kolkata | Updated on February 14, 2011 Published on February 14, 2011

Mr Partha S Bhattacharyya Chairman, Coal India Ltd (file photo). -- Kamal Narang   -  Business Line

Coal India is interested in tapping shale gas, a form of natural gas trapped in shale rock formations, to improve its bottomline and allow the government to reduce imports of natural gas in the process.

Caught napping when the government permitted the exploration of coal bed methane gas, CIL does not want to miss a similar opportunity this time around, as the government is very keen to step up exploration for natural gas.

“We want to go ahead in the coal-related value chain and tapping shale gas is one such move,” CIL Chairman, Mr Partha S. Bhattacharjee, told PTI.

Asked if the Government will allow the CIL to get into the shale gas business, Mr Bhattacharjee said, “We will try to convince the Government to allow us to tap the gas as we are the largest coal miner, with the largest coal reserves.”

The Government is expected to soon come out with a licencing policy for exploration of shale gas in the country.

Shale gas, which was struck recently by the ONGC near Durgapur in West Bengal, has emerged as an important energy source in the US over the past few years and now accounts for almost one-fourth of natural gas supply there.

Reliance Industries has also indicated its interest in extracting shale gas.

CIL sources said the move would not only improve the public sector company’s own bottomline, but will also present the Government with an opportunity to reduce dependence on imports of natural gas and crude to meet the country’s energy requirement.

Asked how CIL intended to get the required technology for extraction of the gas, sources said this would not be a major problem as there are companies that can offer the expertise.

The company also has plans to explore the potential for a coal-to-oil project, he said.

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Published on February 14, 2011
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