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Regulatory revamp paves way for India shale sale

Minister hails “huge shale-gas potential”

INDIA IS fleshing out new regulations before offering shale-gas blocks for auction, the country’s energy ministry said. Speaking at an energy summit, India’s director-general of hydrocarbons, S K Srivastava, said the country has “huge shale-gas potential” and needs to develop “a comprehensive set of rules and regulations” to govern the development of domestic resources.

The government has identified six basins – Cambay, Assam-Arakan, Gondawana, the onshore sectors of the Krishna-Godavari and Cauvery, as well as the Indo-Gangatic – as potential shale-gas hot-spots. It plans to hold the auction by August. In February, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) discovered India’s first shale-gas deposits in West Bengal.

Although the project is still in the early assessment stages, ONGC hailed the find as a significant breakthrough. ONGC has already drilled several wells in India as part of a research and development venture with global oilfield services player Schlumberger. The company drilled four wells in the Damodar basin, two in the Raniganj basin in West Bengal and a further two in North Karanpura basin in Jharkhand. The company said the pilot shale-gas project “will put India on the shale-gas map of the world” and has “opened up new hopes for meeting our energy needs”.

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