“The highly energy dependent society has increased demand for hydrocarbons”

Unconventional fuels like shale gas, shale oil, tar sand, coal bed methane and tight gas, among others, give hope that the mankind can still depend upon hydrocarbons as sources of energy for a few years longer, Narendra K Verma, Director, Exploration of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited has said.

Delivering an endowment lecture ‘Unconventionals – The New Frontier of Hydrocarbon Exploration’ at Andhra University in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday, he said the world had very large reserves of shale gas and shale oil and this would last even after the fossil fuels like petroleum and natural gas were exhausted. Globally hydrocarbon reserves were enough to meet the demand for next four to five decades, he pointed out. “The highly energy dependent society of today has increased the demand for hydrocarbons. Further, today there is a greater demand for clean energy. Both have contributed to the increase in demand for unconventionals,” he pointed out.

However, exploration and production of unconventionals was expensive and they require factory-mode of drilling as the hydrocarbon extraction was not at the commercial rate. Second challenge was that these wells have a shorter lifespan and newer ones need to be drilled.

Production facility requires large tracts of land, which was available in countries like the United States of America, Brazil and Canada and this becomes a major challenge for a country like ours, he explained.

“The government has to draw up a slew of fiscal incentives to attract investment into exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons like shale gas. However, India is already started exploration and production of coal-bed methane. India has a very large reserve of gas hydrates which are a rich source of hydrocarbons – gas hydrate contains 164 times methane in a compressed form – and it could be a major source for India’s energy security.”

He urged the students to look at a career in petroleum sector as it was one of the best paying jobs in the world.

With a significant number of employees retiring from the ONGC in near future, there would be openings for a large number of youngsters, he told the students.

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