The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons will soon offer seven coal bed methane blocks under the fifth round of bidding with the Central Mine and Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI) finalising the data dossier. The DGH had engaged CMPDI in 2011 to identify CBM blocks and prepare a list for the fifth round.
A DGH official told FE that the blocks would be offered in Singrauli, Sohagpur and Cambay basin areas, which mainly have lignite and bituminous coal. Although the official didn’t disclose the CBM reserves the mines were bearing, he said the CMPDI-prepared data indicated that it would be easier to extract methane from the blocks that would be offered under the fifth round.
The mines, which will be offered for CBM extraction, can be used for coal mining only after 2046.
The DGH has offered 33 blocks covering 17,000 km in four rounds of bidding, but only four blocks have come to production so far. “Of the eight blocks awarded in the first round, only four are producing 2.5 lakh cubic metres of gas per day, much below the expected rate of production. This worries the petroleum and natural gas ministry about the success of the fifth round of CBM bidding,” the official said.
The petroleum and natural gas ministry got the maximum response in the third round of bidding, when it received 54 bids against 10 blocks on offer. But with explorations not getting enough results, the demand for CBM blocks has come down.
Although the DGH made huge projections regarding CBM production in the country, the rate of success has been far from satisfactory.
The DGH has already awarded 1.8 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of CBM reserves for exploration and extraction of the 4.4 tcm of identified reserves. However, CMPDI has pointed out that the DGH figure was inflated and the actual identified reserve was 3.4 tcm. CMPDI has tested 75 bore holes across the country to come to the number, the DGH official said.
The DGH offered 8 blocks in the first round, 9 in the second round, 10 in the third round and 7 in the fourth round. CMPDI chairman and managing director AK Debnath said coal can be mined from the CBM blocks offered in the first round only after 2036.