ONGC to sign gas exploration pact with ConocoPhillips

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and US oil giant ConocoPhillips will today sign a pact to explore and develop shale gas and deepwater oil blocks.

Details about the agreement will be announced at a news conference later today, said ONGC in a statement.

ONGC will reportedly offer the third-largest US oil company a stake in some of the exploration blocks it holds off the eastern coast of India, similar to Reliance Industries, which last year sold a 30-per cent stake in 21 exploration blocks in India to British oil giant BP Plc (See: RIL – BP deal gets government approval). 

Indian energy companies are tying up with overseas oil companies in order to gain expertise in shale gas technology.

Shale gas (gas locked in sedimentary rocks) has become an important source of energy in a few countries which have been able to commercially exploit this resource.

While the existence of shale gas was known for decades, the technology to extract natural gas from shale became available only recently with the latest hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques.

The extraction of shale gas is done by hydraulic fracturing, a process in which of gallons of chemically treated water and sand are pumped underground, to release trapped gas by breaking up rock.