Oil minister Veerappa Moily (left) with ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva (right) in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Oct. 4: Global energy leaders ConocoPhillips and Carrizo Oil & Gas are likely to offer technical expertise to state-owned oil firms ONGC and Oil India, respectively, in their exploration of shale gas assets in the country.
ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva said the company would take help from Houston-based ConocoPhillips to drill wells.
Last month, the cabinet committee on economic affairs allowed ONGC and Oil India to tap shale resources in blocks allotted to them on a nomination basis.
S. Rath, director (operations) of Oil India, said Rajasthan and Assam had been identified for initial drilling, and the PSU could align with Carrizo Oil & Gas.
ONGC plans to start drilling in Gujarat this month.
Company officials said they planned to drill four wells initially. “Four wells will cost around Rs 150-200 crore. Shale oil and gas wells are 2.5 times costlier than the conventional ones because they involve hydraulic fracturing,” they said.
ONGC plans to take up exploratory work in 10 wells in blocks spread across western Cambay and eastern Cauvery and Krishna-Godavari basins. Commercial drilling will start next year, Vasudeva said.
Potential shale gas reserves have already been identified in Cambay basin.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, India could be sitting on as much as 96 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas reserves, equivalent to its gas demand for around 26 years.
Shale extraction uses hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals underground to release trapped oil and gas.
In the first phase, ONGC and Oil India have been permitted to explore and produce shale oil and gas from onland blocks that were allotted on a nomination basis before the introduction of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp) in 1999.
The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has estimated that 176 of the 356 blocks held by the oil duo are likely to hold shale reserves.
According to available data, six basins — Cambay (in Gujarat), Assam-Arakan (in the Northeast), Gondawana (in central India), KG onshore (in Andhra Pradesh), Cauvery onshore and Indo-Gange- tic basins, hold shale gas potential.