Prop for Bengal gas

The Y.K. Modi-run Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd plans to invest up to Rs 7,000 crore, including Rs 5,000 crore in shale gas mining, over the next five years in Bengal, if explorations at its Raniganj coal bed methane fields succeed.

By Jayanta Roy Chowdhury
  • Published 6.09.18
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New Delhi: The Y.K. Modi-run Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd plans to invest up to Rs 7,000 crore, including Rs 5,000 crore in shale gas mining, over the next five years in Bengal, if explorations at its Raniganj coal bed methane fields succeed.

"If explorations succeed we will invest Rs 5,000-6,000 crore in mining shale gas at Raniganj," said Prashant Modi, managing director of GEECL, in an interaction with The Telegraph.

"Technology is available. We will not require financial partners, if need be we can outsource some of the work."

In July, the government had amended the Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 1959 to include shale in the definition of petroleum - a tweak that allows private companies to explore and produce the resource from oil, gas and coal bed methane blocks they already operate.

Modi intends to take advantage of that change in rules to explore for shale in Raniganj.

Essar Oil & Gas Exploration and Production has already said the company is expecting reserves of at least 1.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable shale gas at its Raniganj block in Bengal.

GEECL also has firm plans to invest another Rs 2,000 crore in setting up 144 wells to mine coal bed methane at its block over the next three to four years.

"So our investment plans for West Bengal can be fairly substantial," said Modi.

The energy firm plans to fund its plans through a mix of internal accruals and if needed external funding, added Modi.

GEECL has so far drilled 156 wells in the block, which has gas reserves of 2.6 trillion cubic feet.

The government had awarded some 33 blocks for extracting CBM but till date only three have started functioning. Besides Great Eastern Energy Corporation and Essar, both located in Raniganj, Reliance Industries has been working its Sohagpur CBM blocks in Madhya Pradesh.