Calcutta, Nov. 12: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to start commercial production of coal-bed-methane in the first quarter of the next financial year at Jharia in Dhanbad.
ONGC chairman Subir Raha said the company, which has pioneered coal-bed-methane projects in the country, has successfully completed test production in Jharia. Commercial production will begin in the next phase.
The country’s largest profit-making company expects high returns from investments in the coal-bed-methane projects.
Raha also said coal-bed-methane, which is a low-pressure gas, will be useful in generating power.
“The gas can be synthesised into liquids suitable for use as feedstock and transportation fuels,” Raha said.
ONGC has four major coal-bed-methane blocks in Jharkhand and Bengal. The upstream major is hopeful of commercial success of the product due to a rising demand for industrial gas and transportation fuels.
“India holds only 0.5 per cent of the world’s oil and gas reserves compared with West Asia’s 65 per cent of oil and 36 per cent of gas. In this circumstances, alternate fuels like coal-bed-methane are important,” he said.
ONGC started the coal-bed-methane project in Jharia about four years back. The company has 90 per cent stake in the block, while Coal India has the remaining 10 per cent.
The company has already dug four wells in the area and the test results are quite encouraging. “For a successful commercial production, we need to put up at least 100 wells in the first phase. The total investment will be around Rs 100 crore,” a company official said.
Sources have, however, said investment is not an issue with the company. “We only have to be sure about the marketing aspect,” they added.