ONGC to start coal bed methane production at Jharia in December

Mumbai: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will start commercial production of coal bed methane (CBM) from its Jharia block from December-January.

Initial production of gas would be around 5,000-10,000 cubic metres per day, which will be raised to 50,000 cubic metre per day by November 2009, ONGC director (exploration) D K Pande said.

ONGC expects its CBM production to reach four lakh cubic metre per day by 2011 from at least 20 producing wells out of the 36 to be drilled in Jharia.

ONGC, which began CBM exploration from 1997-98, did not make much progress due to several problems, including shortcomings in technology. The company finally began development of project at Parbatpur near Bokaro in 2005 and is almost ready with production from one well and has done drilling of 20 wells.

ONGC, however,  has not reduced its interest for search of oil and gas and plans to invest about Rs10,000 crore to Rs12,000 crore in the next seven to eight years in exploration, Pande said.

''We are close to getting five onshore oil and gas exploration blocks that fall in West Bengal, by September 30 when the centre awards the winners of bids under Nelp VII," Pande said.

The total area of the exploration in all the combined five blocks will be about 16,000 sq km. The blocks will be located in central and North Bengal districts of Malda, North Dinajpur, Nadia, and Hoogly, ONGC group GM (basin manager) A K Biswas said.