CIL to soon get right for exploring coal bed methane: Oil Secretary

Siddhartha P. Saikia New Delhi | Updated on March 13, 2018

A file photo of Vivek Rae, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Public sector miner Coal India would soon get the right to explore coal bed methane (a form of gas found in coal beds) in its existing mines, Vivek Rae, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said, while addressing the Energy Security Conference 2013 organised by CII in New Delhi.

Currently, India does not have a policy regime for simultaneous extraction of CBM and coal. But, it does have a CBM policy. The Petroleum Ministry has auctioned 30 CBM blocks in four rounds. Three others have been allocated on nomination basis.

Rae said that India has better CBM opportunities than shale gas/oil.

Coal bed methane reserves

With the third-largest proven coal reserves, and the fourth largest coal producer in the world, India holds significant prospects for commercial recovery of CBM. The resource has been estimated to be around 4.6 trillion cubic meters, according to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons.

Actually, Oil Minister M. Veerappa Moily has proposed that private players be allowed to explore CBM along with Coal India in its existing mines. But, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has contested this.

With no consensus emerging, the only option left is to allow Coal India to extract CBM. However, the public sector miner has no experience in gas exploration.

Currently, three CBM blocks are producing around 0.15 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd). This is likely to touch 7.4 mscmd by 2013, according to the DGH.

Published on November 27, 2013

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