Oil India plans major shale exploration programme

Vol 17, PW 22 (19 Jun 14) People & Policy

First it was ONGC, now Oil India has excitedly joined the race to exploit India’s untapped shale reserves.

Oil India chairman SK Srivastava is personally spearheading the company’s new shale exploration programme in Upper Assam near Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. "Our CMD suggested we create a separate team to focus on shale," confirms a source.

"The team is in place at Duliajan; we have also hired advisors." Five areas in Assam and one in Rajasthan have been identified.

"We're waiting for the ministry go-ahead," he adds. "Once we receive it the clock will start ticking for the three-year assessment (Phase-I).

" Oil India sent a work programme to the ministry on April 19, 2014 covering four areas. Water, needed to ‘frack’ shale rocks, and how to transport “millions of barrels” to Upper Assam, are Oil India’s biggest challenges.

“Equally challenging is how to dispose of water after use.” Included in the work programme are G&G studies to understand shale rocks, expected to take a year.

"The rocks should be mature and rich in organic content," we hear. "If they are thin ‘fracking’ is not possible.

” Also planned are pilot wells in Assam, drilled to over 3000 metres vertically and 2000 metres horizontally; in Rajasthan to 2000 metres vertically and 2000 metres horizontally.