Barely few days before the visit of chief minister Mamata Banerjee to Durgapur, the West Bengal government has executed a lease agreement with London stock exchange-listed YK Modi Group’s Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited (GEECL) for exploration of shale gas in Raniganj East block of West Burdwan district.
This will be the first ever commercial shale gas exploration project in West Bengal.
Shale refers to natural gas trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum natural gas.
West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation sources said that the Essar Groups will invest Rs 15,000 crore for its gas exploration project at Raniganj block.
GEECL is the first company in India to commercially explore coal bed methane gas (CBM) successfully in Raniganj coalfields in the early 2000. In the CBM field GEECL will invest further Rs 1,500 crore, WBIDC sources said.
In the coming week, the state government will execute a similar lease agreement with the Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production for shale gas exploration near Durgapur. Essar Group has announced to pump in Rs 7,000 crore for drilling about 220 to 250 wells for its shale gas project in Burdwan district. About 5,000 people will get jobs directly, WBIDC sources said.
This twin investment of Rs 22,000 crore by GEECL and Essar Group on shale gas exploration was announced in the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata recently.
Commercial exploration of Shale gas is all set to be a socio-economic game changer in the Durgapur-Asansol industrial region in the days to come. Though there are also some environmental concerns, experts said.
Former Asansol MP and Union minister of state, Babul Supriyo has met with the then petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan several times in the past and tried to convince him to expedite the gas exploration projects in Raniganj coalfields.
The ONGC scientists discovered the world’s second shale gas poll near Durgapur in January 2011. Only in North America, the USA and Canada work together for commercial shale gas production.
It can be used as CNG and is environmentally friendly. Once the commercial exploration for both these two projects starts, a number of ancillary industries will be benefitted.
The central government has already announced the City Gas Distribution through pipeline in many cities of the state in the coming days.