Reliance starts commercial production of coal bed methane

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has commenced commercial production from its coal bed methane (CBM) block at Sohagpur in Madhya Pradesh and is currently supplying CBM for commissioning the Shahdol-Phulpur pipeline (SHPPL).

Reliance, which started gas production at the SP(West)–CBM–2001/1 in Sohagpur on 24 March 2017, plans to gradually ramp up production in the next 15-18 months, making it one of the largest unconventional natural gas producers in India, a company release stated.

CBM gas is similar to natural gas, containing 90-95 per cent methane. It is an environment-friendly natural gas extracted from coal-bed and has become an important source of unconventional gas in many parts of the world.

RIL was awarded the licence to explore two adjacent CBM blocks SP(West) and SP(East) with an area of 995 sq.km in the Round 1 of CBM block bidding by the Government of India in 2001.

RIL said it has drilled more than 200 wells connected to two gas gathering stations in the first phase of development. RIL expects to drill 600-800 wells further and develop associated infrastructure over the next phases of development.

Reliance Gas Pipelines Limited (RGPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of RIL, has laid the 302 km Shahdol-Phulpur gas pipeline that connects Sohagpur CBM fields from Shahdol to HaziraVijaipur-Jagdishpur (HBJ) pipeline network of GAIL at Phulpur. With this new pipeline network these CBM gas fields are now connected to the Indian Gas Grid.

With this, RIL has become the third company in India to begin CBM gas production. Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd (GEECL) and Essar Oil Ltd are the two existing players selling CBM gas in the market. RIL holds another CBM block in Sonhat, Chhattisgarh.

CBM is natural gas stored or absorbed in coal seams. India, with the world's fourth largest proven coal reserves, holds significant potential for CBM exploration and production.