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.
India is technologically ready for shale gas, but higher environmental risks and land acquisition issues pose major concerns. SV Rao, Director (Exploration), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), explains to Sudheer Vathiyath how they can be offset.