Calcutta, Sept. 22: Gail India Ltd is planning to enter into a tie-up with Coal India for a joint venture project on coal-bed methane (CBM). Sources said the gas major is keen on the project as it has enormous potential.
“The CBM project, when in place, can cater to the rising demand for gas in West Bengal. Hence, investment is not a constraint if we get the right block and the right partner,” a senior Gail official said.
Coal-bed methane has been found in Ranigunj-Dhanbad coal belt where Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Essar Oil have already taken blocks.
“More such blocks are expected to be thrown open and we are very keen to acquire some prime blocks in this region,” the official said.
Gail is also contemplating to lay a pipeline from the coal belt in the state to the industrial hubs like Durgapur, Howrah and Haldia. “The market for gas is ready. Now we need to source the gas in bulk quantity,” he said.
The gas major has drawn an investment plan for the state where it has launched an off-shore exploration activity.
Under the first round of new exploration licensing policy, the company has been awarded two offshore blocks, one each in the Bengal and Mahanadi basins.
For the Bengal basin, the company has signed a production-sharing contract with Gazprom of Russia and for the Mahanadi basin, a similar contract with ONGC has been signed.
According to the official, scientific surveys of the two basins would cost the company Rs 30 crore initially.
The official has further pointed out that the initial studies show the viability of the off-shore project. “But one must not predict on the basis of any preliminary data. We need to study the site thoroughly before we talk about the availability of gas,” he said.