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Underground Wealth

World Coal,

As India looks to sustain its accelerating rate of growth, the Prime Minister’s Economic Council has stated the need for controlling the levels of costly imports and maximising the development of indigenous energy sources. The Indian market is characterised by strong demand, driven by a large population and energy intensive industries. This demand, coupled with a limited local energy supply, has created a significant and growing market for natural gas.

With estimated reserves of coalbed methane (CBM) standing at around 4.6 trillion m3, there is an enormous opportunity for India to exploit the unconventional energy source. CBM offers environmental, technical and economic advantages and, as a result, the Indian Government has been awarding CBM blocks through international bidding rounds since 2001. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, as well as the Planning Commission, recognise the critical role of natural gas and predict that the share of natural gas in India’s commercial energy mix will rise from 11% in 2010 to 20% in 2025.

The CBM block bidding process is one of the most investor-friendly in the world. Yet for the Indian gas industry to truly flourish, it is important to ensure free marketing and pricing and prevent intervention in the sale of gas through imposed conditions.

In this report, Prashant Modi will discuss the current CBM block bidding process, and explain how the continued development of CBM can help India meet its rising energy requirements.

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