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India to ask Obama for help in shale gas production

October 28, 2010
TOPICS: Natural gas
Providing a textbook example of irony, government leaders in India plan on asking for help from the United States in developing the Asian country's shale resources.

The person Indians are targeting for advice? None other than President Barack Obama, whose administration has pushed to increase taxes on oil and natural gas production and increase regulations on hydraulic fracturing.

From India Today:

"There have been some discussions. We hope to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the US President's visit," petroleum minister Murli Deora said at the Economic Editors' Conference on Wednesday.

US companies have made a major breakthrough in tapping shale gas, an unconventional gas found in sedimentary rocks, while India is just venturing into the field.

Petroleum secretary S. Sundareshan said India was looking at cooperation with the US in ascertaining the shale gas resources base in the country.

The agreement is expected to be signed with the US Geological Survey for knowledge- sharing in the area of shale gas.

Shale gas is trapped in geological shale formations and was previously very difficult to extract. US firms have now developed technologies that have made it commercially viable to crack these tight rock formations and produce large quantities of shale gas.

The director general of hydrocarbons S. K. Srivastava said that several basins in India are known to hold shale gas resources. However, primarily the focus is on three basins - Cambay in Gujarat, Assam- Arakan in the North- East and Gondwana in central India.

The petroleum ministry is drawing up plans to throw open areas for the exploration of shale gas for the first time in the country in 2012.

Action is on to develop a framework for an assessment of resource potential, which would lead to exploitation of this resource.

The director general of hydrocarbons and the petroleum ministry are working on the changes required in the exploration laws for shale gas to be produced, because current exploration licenses do not include unconventional sources.

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