New Delhi: With environmental and land acquisition issues coming to the fore, the central government may have put plans to declare a shale gas exploration policy on the backburner. Tapping shale rock formations can unlock potentially huge unconventional gas resources.
India, the world's fourth-biggest oil importer, buys nearly 80 per cent of its needs.
"Prospects of shale gas are there...We are exchanging notes with international experts on this. Our ambition was to unveil it this year but I'm sure we'll be able to do that next year," petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy told a news conference.
"There are certain concerns," the minister said, without elaborating further.
Off the record, officials of the regulatory body, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, said a number of issues were responsible for delaying policy formation.
According to these officials, the environment ministry had concerns over using hydraulic fracturing and land acquisition had already become a contentious issue. Shale gas requires huge tracts of land to become commercially viable.