Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fuel alternatives: The Krishna-Godavari basin could soon turn out to be the new source of “shale gas”, which holds promise as the future fuel for humanity for at least 200 years

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The Krishna-Godavari basin could soon turn out to
be the new source of “shale gas”, which holds promise as the future
fuel for humanity for at least 200 years.

The KG basin is one of the few places identified in India for
exploration and exploitation of shale gas. The total potential of
shale gas in the country is estimated to range between 600 trillion
cubic metres and 2000 trillion cubic metres. Shale gas is a natural
gas trapped within shales or fine-grained sedimentary rocks. Besides
the KG basin, shales are also present in the Cuddapah Super Basin in
Andhra Pradesh and other places spread over the country.

The city-based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and the
Geological Survey of India have been carrying out research studies to
identify news sources of shale gas to boost the natural gas production
in the country. The shale gas resources are several times more than
the natural gas resources.

Oil and natural gas experts and geophysicists from different parts of
the world will converge on the NGRI on Wednesday to discuss the latest
scientific strategies to explore and exploit shale gas. Identification
of shale gas gains significance in view of fast depletion of
conventional energy resources.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified shale gas as one
of the alternative energy resources whose economic potential is more
than two times the projected production potential of natural gas.
According to NGRI scientists, India has a large number of sedimentary
basins with proven shale gas reservoirs and the oil industry has taken
positive strides towards exploration and exploitation of shale gas
that could contribute to the energy security of the country.
Prospective blocks are being identified for detailed exploration and
development in the near future.

India has a large number of sedimentary basins with proven shale gas
reservoirs. KG basin is one of them. The other sites are Cambay basin,
Assam-Arakan basin, Damodar Valley and Cauvery basin. The
international conference at NGRI will discuss among other things the
geological, geophysical and geochemical aspects of shale gas
exploration, micro-seismic imaging, drilling, completion and
production technologies and environmental hazard in shale gas
exploitation.

Shale gas is also found in “unconventional” reservoirs like coal bed
methane, gas from tight sandstones and gas hydrates.

According to a document of the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University,
shale gas exploration by Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) at
Raniganj in Assam showed encouraging results. “The initial results are
encouraging but one has to wait for some more time to ascertain
whether shale gas production is commercially viable or not,” it
pointed out. However, IEA believes that half of the shale gas
resources could be exploited.

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