GEECL to Start India Shale Exploration Next Year
Indian coalbed methane (CBM) explorer Great Eastern Energy Corp (GEECL) will start drilling for shale gas at its flagship Raniganj (South) CBM block in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal next year, the company’s CEO Prashant Modi told NGW on November 19.
“The company expects to start initial shale gas exploration work of drilling core wells in the next year as we are awaiting some final approvals,” Modi said. “Depending on the results obtained and analysed from the core wells, we thereafter intend to drill an optimum number of pilot production wells.”
Based on further results obtained and analysed from the pilot production wells, the total investment envisaged for the full development of shale resources in the block could be in the region of $2bn, he added. The Ranijganj (South) block holds an estimated shale resource of 3.51 trillion ft3 under the best estimate - with high and low estimates of 6.63 trillion ft3 and 1.4 trillion ft3 respectively, the company said earlier this year.
In order to enable the realisation of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing contract areas, which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited, the Indian government tweaked the rules in 2018. It now permits exploration and exploitation of all types of hydrocarbons including shale gas resources under the existing CBM contracts.
Meanwhile, London-listed GEECL also plans to drill another 144 CBM wells in the future, which will entail an investment of over $150mn, Modi said.
Last week, the company reported a cash profit of $3mn during the six months ending September 30, down from $6.18mn a year back. According to UK brokerage and research firm, SP Angel, GEECL shareholders will be encouraged by the financial resilience exhibited in challenging market conditions. The company’s strategy of optimising production, as well as pursuing further exploration continues, as is the exploitation of its potentially transformational shale acreage, it said.