ONGC to Begin India's First Commercial CBM Production

The Board of Directors of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) has approved the investment proposal of Rs. 950 Crore, for exploration and development of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) in six blocks in Jharkhand and West Bengal.

With the formal Board approval, ONGC has started the countdown for the first commercial production of CBM gas in India.

The projected schedule for production is June 2007. An estimated peak production of 7.84 million cubic meters of gas per day is being targeted from the proposed development wells.

Out of the projected expenditure, Rs. 557 Crore has been earmarked for the development of early CBM production in Central Parbatpur area of Jharia block.

An expenditure of Rs. 392 Crore has been approved for drilling, completion and testing of 22 pilot wells in Jharia, Bokaro and North Karanpura CBM blocks, with completion schedule of 31 months, from the date of placement of LoI.

The Jharia CBM block is located within Jharia coalfield, around 25 kilometers east of Bokaro Steel city. The total area of Jharia block is 84.5 square kilometers, out of which the Parbatpur area comprises of 18 square kilometers, and the area under the present production scheme is 6 square kilometers.

ONGC would deploy advanced drilling technology, viz. Horizontal-Inseam-Multilateral drilling technique for the first time in India, after its proven success by CBM operators in Australia and USA.

The Jharia nomination block is jointly held by ONGC (74%) and Coal India Ltd. (26%).

The other blocks included in the exploration and development plan are nomination block Raniganj (ONGC 90%, CIL 10%) in West Bengal ; CBM Policy-I blocks: Bokaro (ONGC 80%, IOC 20%) and North Karanpura (ONGC 80%, IOC 20%); and CBM Policy-II blocks: South Karanpura (ONGC 100%) and North Karanpura-West (ONGC 100%) in Jharkhand.

So far, ONGC has secured 9 out of the 16 blocks awarded by the government.

Different operators of CBM use different proprietary techniques for CBM drilling. ONGC chose the horizontal-inseam-multilateral technique after discussions with global operators. A comparative analysis of various drilling techniques like Z-Pinnet technology, Radial-Horizontal-Multilateral technology and Dimaxian-Horizontal drilling technology, revealed that in poor-permeability coal, Horizontal-Inseam-Multilateral drilling has the capability to enhance CBM production by 10-20 times, in comparison to drilling conventional vertical wells.