The Union government may auction six shale gas blocks, with estimated reserves of over 50 billion cubic metres, this year. When it happens it will become India's first auction of exploratory blocks for this fuel. Of the six blocks, two most prolific blocks are in the Ranigunj coalfields of the Damodar basin in West Bengal. The others are in Jharia, also in the Damodar basin, and in the Cauvery basin in the south India.
Shale gas is a type of natural gas produced from shale. Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI) has said that it has handed over data package for six blocks to the Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH).
CMPDI was awarded a Rs 40-crore contract to prepare the data package for the shale assets. The institute had prepared the data packages of the 33 coal bed methane (CBM) assets auctioned so far by the Centre.
According to CMPDI, India has lined up shale gas assets to be auctioned in the next four rounds.
India is estimated to have 6-63 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserves of the fuel, according to various studies. Exploration and development of this fuel in India will help it cut reliance on costly fuel imports. The government had said earlier it would auction exploratory blocks for this fuel this year.