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India signedn MoU with US for cooperation in shale gas  

India signs shale gas MoU with US

The Times of India, New Delhi, November 09, 2010

In line with efforts to expand ties with Washington into areas of unconventional and frontier technologies, India has signed an MoU with the US for cooperation in identifying and tapping gas trapped in layers of sedimentary rocks, commonly known as shale gas.

The two countries also sealed a deal on clean energy with an agreement on establishing a bilateral energy cooperation programme to promote clean and energy efficient businesses.

Oil minister Murli Deora called shale gas as the future mantra of the hydrocarbons industry. “We are trying to usher in a shale gas era. The MoU will help India identify shale gas resource in the country and frame policy regime for exploitation of the resource,” he said.

His ministry plans to include shale gas acreages in its auction of exploration blocks in 2011. The US is considered a pioneer in the area and has the only commercially viable market for the fuel. India is waking up to the prospect of the unconventional energy source, with Mukesh Ambani’s RIL recently buying stakes in companies in the US. Even ONGC has initiated a pilot project and started drilling in a Bengal village. But lack of technology and know-how remains a hurdle which the US will help overcome. Petroleum secretary S Sundareshan said the US Geological Survey will carry out studies on shale gas resources and will provide a report. Since shale gas production is a difficult process, a new fiscal regime would be needed and exploration laws changed.

The MoU was signed by Sudhir Bhargava, additional secretary in the oil ministry, and David Goldwyn, coordinator of international energy affairs in the US State Department.

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