ONGC ropes in ConocoPhillips for shale gas exploration in India, North America

Written by Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 31 2012, 06:11am hrs
The state-run oil and gas exploration major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) on Friday entered into an agreement with the US-based ConocoPhillips, for cooperation in exploration and development of shale resources in India and North America, besides deepwater opportunities in the country's Eastern offshore.

"This MoU with ConocoPhillips, a leader in shale gas exploration and development, is only a first step in our efforts to explore this newly emerging energy and we will decide on our investment plans later.

"Under this agreement, we will be exploring shale resources not only in the country but also in North America and elsewhere, apart from exploring deepwater opportunities in our Eastern offshore," CMD of ONGC Sudhir Vasudeva said on Friday. He further said ONGC has been trying to explore shale gas on its own and has done some pioneering work in the Damodar Valley by drilling four wells and established the presence of shale deposits there.

At a time when the world is witnessing nearly static reserve growth from conventional resources, the unprecedented growth of shale gas in the US has generated new hopes for all the energy-deficient countries with shale resources emerging as a major supplement to conventional fuels, Vasudeva said.

ConocoPhillips has extensive experience in shale gas exploration and exploitation in the US and holds large acreage position, while ONGC's endeavour in shale gas is at a nascent stage.

The cooperation between the two oil and gas majors is expected to accelerate learnings in shale gas for both the companies. The partners intend to initiate cooperation in shale gas exploration through joint studies of opportunities here, North America, and elsewhere and also plan to explore possible cooperation in deepwater areas in the Eastern offshore.

Shale gas refers to natural gas that is trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas. It has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the US over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world. Analysts expect shale gas to supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020 and also will greatly expand worldwide energy supply.