The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, in Budget 2014-15, has proposed to accelerate the production and exploitation of coal bed methane reserves and explore the possibility of using modern technology to revive old or closed wells to maximise production from such fields.

The central government has awarded 33 blocks for exploration and exploitation of CBM under the four bidding rounds launched so far. Out of these, eight blocks are under development phase wherein good CBM potential has been established. The field development plans for these blocks have been approved and development activities have been carried out by the contractors.

The total established reserves in these eight blocks are of the order of 9.9 trillion cubic feet. At present, coal bed methane is being produced from three blocks, namely Raniganj (South) and Raniganj (East) in West Bengal and Jharia in Jharkhand. The current average CBM production for 2014-15 (April to June) is about 0.58 mmscmd. The projected CBM production is likely to reach a level of 4 mmscmd by 2016-17.

Further, 10 CBM blocks have been identified for offer under the proposed Uniformed Licensing Policy.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharamendra Pradhan has informed the Lok Sabha that under phase-I of assessment of shale gas and oil exploration and exploitation, 56 petroleum exploration lease and petroleum mining lease blocks (ONGC – 50 and Oil India Ltd – six) have been identified by national oil companies. These blocks are located in Assam (seven blocks), Arunachal Pradesh (one), Gujarat (28), Rajasthan (one), Andhra Pradesh (10) and Tamil Nadu (nine blocks).

ONGC has drilled one well where coring has been completed. In addition, ONGC has collected cores from another seven wells.

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