• Essar to double CBM production this year

    Company to ramp up wells count in Raniganj East block coal fields, seeks to triple output to 2.5 mn scmd in FY18, from current level. Essar Oil & Gas is planning to ramp up its coal-based methane (CBM) production to a minimum of 1.8 million standard cubic metres per day (scmd) by the end of the current financial year from the existing 0.85 scmd and scale it up further to 2.5 million scmd during 2017-18.

    In this endeavour, it will increase the number of its wells in the Raniganj East block coalfields from around 300 to 363 this year. “We’ll increase the well count by March 2017. Of the nearly 300 wells, 266 have been fracked, 247 have been completed and 175 have been on the active de-absorption cycle,” the company’s CEO for exploration and production, Manish Maheshwari, told Business Standard.

    Essar Oil & Gas has a revenue-sharing contract with the government for the 260-acre Raniganj CBM project, where it has been granted mining rights for 500 sq km. So far the company has made an investment of Rs 33 billion in this project. The company owns CBM mining rights in coalfields in Raniganj, West Bengal, Sohagpur in Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, Rajmahal in Jharkhand and Talcher and Ib Valley in Odisha, making it the largest private CBM producer in India.

    “Rajmahal will also begin production in five years. There are 20 core holes in this project and we have received the necessary approvals for land acquisition there. At present, only Raniganj is producing CBM but other projects will come up in time,” Maheshwari said. Land acquisition approval for the Sohagpur minefield is pending from the Chhattisgarh government and the Petroleum Exploration Licence for the Talcher and Ib Valley coalfields is pending from the Odisha government.

    All these coalfields have combined reserves of 12 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of CBM, of which Raniganj has reserves of 1.1 tcf. To extract CBM from these coal mines, Essar Oil & Gas has employed six drilling rigs of which two have been procured from Greka drilling on contract. It is also on the lookout for CBM mining projects globally but will keep off “matured markets” like the USand Australia.

    Besides, Essar Oil & Gas, which is expecting the global crude scenario to remain buoyant at a maximum of $ 50 per barrel of oil till mid-2017 is also planning to aggressively increase its count of petrol pumps from over 2,000 outlets to 5,000 outlets by 2018. Oscar Dansk Jersey

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