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Updated: November 1, 2010 00:43 IST

Government to step up oil and gas exploration

PTI
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Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and Minister of State Jitin Prasada at the inaugural ceremony of the 9th Petrotech International Oil and Gas exhibition at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora and Minister of State Jitin Prasada at the inaugural ceremony of the 9th Petrotech International Oil and Gas exhibition at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The government, which was aggressively pushing for exploration of conventional oil and gas, had taken steps to tap shale gas to reduce the country's import dependence, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora said on Sunday.

“India launched its 9th New Exploration Licensing Policy (auction) this month offering 34 blocks, covering approximately 88,000 sq.km. (for exploration of hydrocarbons),” he said while inaugurating the Petrotech-2010 exhibition here.

The previous eight licensing rounds since 1999 had resulted in the enhancement of exploration coverage of the Indian Sedimentary Basin from 11 per cent to 58 per cent. “We have also initiated the process to tap shale gas (non-conventional fuel trapped in sedimentary rocks) to reduce the energy demand gap,” he said.

“India imports 75 per cent of its crude oil requirement. Therefore, it is important that the Indian Sedimentary Basin may be explored vigorously to bridge this gap,” he said.

“There is a huge tract of Indian sedimentary areas which is unexplored, creating opportunities for global players to venture into this sector.”

Mr. Deora said the government was creating strategic oil and gas reserves as insurance against supply disruptions. Underground crude oil storages were being built at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh and Mangalore in Karnataka that would hold sufficient reserves to cover the nation's requirement for 15 days.

The theme of the three-day Petrotech-2010 oil and gas conference, “Global Energy Equilibrium,” was aimed at capturing different facets of the energy chain for achieving sustainable development and ecological balance, Mr. Deora said.

This year, more than 300 companies, including many global energy majors, were showcasing their expertise and specialties at the hydrocarbon exhibition.

“It is also heartening to note that 10 country pavilions of Russia, Malaysia, Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Holland, Denmark, the UAE and Indonesia have been set up. ,” he said.

Keywords: oil exploration

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