Government offers 15 CBM blocks in first round of auction


New Delhi: The government offered 15 blocks for coal seam gas extraction (CBM) in the first tender in over a decade.

The blocks are located in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, according to a tender notice issued by the General Directorate of Hydrocarbons (DGH).

Offers under the CBM-2021 special call for tenders are due on February 20, 2022.

This is CBM’s first bidding round in over a decade. The last round was in 2010. CBM is gas or methane found under coal seams in coal seams. It is similar to natural gas and can be used as a fuel to power power plants, run fertilizer units, or be used as CNG in automobiles.

The maximum number of five coal bed methane (CBM) blocks has been proposed in Madhya Pradesh, and two blocks each in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha. Three blocks are offered in Chhattisgarh and one in West Bengal.

The government has awarded 29 blocks of CBMs in the previous four rounds of tendering.

“Companies are invited to bid for the exploration, development and monetization of 15 blocks of CBM that may contain both conventional and / or unconventional hydrocarbon resources, spread across sedimentary basins of India.” , said DGH.

All 15 blocks are in Category III basins that hold potential resources to explore and discover.

The sedimentary basins of India are divided into three categories – Category I corresponds to those basins whose reserves are in the process of production and exploitation and Category II to those whose possible resources are to be developed and monetized.

Under CBM’s current cycle, bidders offering to do as much exploration work as possible will be awarded the block, DGH said.

The tender is part of the government’s attempt to increase domestic production of oil and gas to reduce dependence on imports.

India imports about 85 percent of its oil requirements and about half of its gas requirements.

Last month, the government offered 21 blocks of conventional oil and gas for auction in the sixth round under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP).

Offers under OALP-VI are due October 6.

At the same time, the government proposed 32 small marginal open fields. These were discovered by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), but were unable to develop them for various reasons, including their unprofitable size.

To date, 32 of these areas have been proposed as part of the third round of small open fields (DSF).

“The deadline for submitting DSF-III bids (has been) extended until January 31, 2022,” DGH said.

This is part of the government’s efforts to more than double the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix to 15 percent by 2030, from 6 percent currently.

The state-owned gas company GAIL (India) Ltd is adding approximately 15,000 kilometers of gas pipelines in eastern India to an existing network of approximately 17,000 km to form a national network which will be linked to the urban gas networks.

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