KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) - The Indian government would auction off at least 100 shale gas blocks before the end of the year, with the process starting immediately after the new shale gas policy was cleared by.
According to an official in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, the new shale gas policy had been finalised and was currently awaiting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
There had been some delays in the approvals process of the new shale gas policy, as well as the auction process, which had initially been scheduled to start in June.
However, the November to December 2013 timeline for inviting bids for 100 or so blocks would be met, the Ministry official maintained.
India has identified six basins as potentially holding shale gas, which include the Cambay basin in the western Indian province of Gujarat, Arakan Valley in north-eastern Assam, in the Gondwana region of central India, the Krishna-Godavari (KV) basin off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, the Cauvery basin and the Indo-Gangetic basin.
The Ministry had estimated that an investment to the tune of $2-billion by successful bidders would be riding on exploration activities to be conducted across the 100 blocks.
The first round of bidding would be confined to shale gas deposits in three regions - the Cauvery basin, the KV basin and Raniganj in the Indo-Gangetic basin, in West Benghal - with a combined estimated reserve of 49.5-trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas of which about 19.8 tfc would be available for immediate commercial recovery.