Pradhan paints rosy CBM picture

Vol 20, PW 6 (01 Dec 16) News in Brief

Listen to Dharmendra Pradhan and you'd think India is riding the crest of a CBM wave.

Pradhan told parliament on November 28 the government has awarded 33 blocks from four bidding rounds with a resource-base of 62.4-tcf and 9.9-tcf established gas in-place. Less prominent in the minister's written reply is that only four of these licences together produce a paltry 1.64m cm/d.

Dig deeper and only two are significant: Raniganj (East) operated by Essar which produces around 1m cm/d and Raniganj (South) operated by UK-listed Great Eastern which produces around 500,000 cm/d. Omitted entirely from the oil minister's statement is that 23 of the 33 blocks stand relinquished.

Most notably last year (2015) when India's only foreign CBM operator UK-based IGas Energy (earlier Dart Energy and before that Arrow Energy) decided India wasn't worth the trouble and exited five blocks across Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. Only BP among foreign majors has been brave enough to dip its toe in the Indian CBM space but after three years of prolonged headache quit its Birbhum licence in 2010.

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