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After prolonged delay, ONGC may be gearing up to take a call on the farm-in opportunities in its four coal bed methane blocks in West Bengal and Jharkhand soon, according to sources. Expectations are rife that the issue may even come up for discussion during the scheduled ONGC board meet on May 15.
As in November 2011, the oil and gas major received four expressions of interests (EoI) from private players to pick up equity stake and help ONGC in monetising the CBM assets.
Among the interested parties, are Great Eastern Energy Corporation (GEECL), Australia-headquartered Dart Energy (formerly Arrow), Essar Oil and a consortium of Jindal Steel and Deep Industries.
Of the four blocks, Jharia and Ranigunj (North) were awarded to ONGC on nomination basis in 2003. Bokaro and North Karanpura were awarded in 2002.
ONGC's dry run
The pubic sector major has so far been successful in producing minuscule quantities of gas from the most prolific Jharia asset. A $200-million development programme, launched in the block in 2007, to prop up production to 3.5 lakh standard cubic metres a day yielded little result.
Though large quantities of in-place reserves of CBM were also identified in Bokaro, the field is yet to be developed.
In comparison the Delhi-headquartered GEECL began commercial production from the Ranigunj (South) nomination block in West Bengal as early as in 2007. Essar Oil too started production from Ranigunj (East).
Dart, the biggest of the four, has more than 50 CBM and shale gas assets in India, Australia, China, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and Belgium. The company also has a technical cooperation tie-up with ONGC.
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