• All set for exploration of shale oil and gas by ONGC in State

    The final public hearing for exploring shale oil and gas by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and Oil India Limited was conducted without any hitch in Alamuru mandal headquarters of East Godavari district on Saturday. Banking on its rich experience and data, the ONGC had informed the Government of India that it identified 50 blocks in the country — 28 in Cambay basin, 10 in KG Basin, 9 in Cauvery Basin, and 3 in Assam and Arakan Basin. The ONGC had estimated availability of 187.5 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in these basins.

    Consequently, it had been tasked with exploring shale oil and gas on an experimental basis by 2019 in the existing blocks. In 2014, it had drilled the first shale gas exploratory well in Cambay. Though there were some positive leads, it could not achieve any major breakthrough. In Andhra Pradesh, the ONGC would go in for a two-phase exploration in three districts – Krishna, West Godavari, and East Godavari. In the first phase, it would drill five wells — two each in Krishna and West Godavari, and one in East Godavari.

    In Krishna district, two locations had been identified – Komallapudi village of Kruthivennu mandal and Modugumudi village of Mandalvalli mandal. The estimated cost in the district was put at Rs. 800 million. In West Godavari district the ONGC would take up drilling in Kolanapalli village of Kalla mandal and Andaluru village of Veeravasaram mandal at an estimated cost of Rs. 930 million. In East Godavari, it would take up drilling at Kalvacharla village in Alamuru mandal at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.17 billion.

    HRF objection

    Meanwhile, rights activists are apprehensive about the entire exercise. General secretary of Visakhapatnam-based Human Rights Forum (HRF) V.S. Krishna says that exploitation of shale gas in the region will lead to depletion of potable groundwater, salination of water table, earthquakes, and air pollution.

    ‘No water contamination’

    However, P. Chandrasekharn, Group General Manager, shale gas and oil, KG Basin, says that exploration is only on an experimental basis. He further says that drilling is done by adopting the Hydrofracking method with the approval of the Government of India. There will be no water contamination as drilling is done with appropriate casing of four layers, he says. The drilling will be completed in three months. Klay Thompson Authentic Jersey

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