Ad Here  
Preserving for the future GNS - 100: our first subscriber Tribute – M V Murugappan Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Engineering seats go abegging Of course, Gujarat is vibrant When online building permits work…. Sweet news for TN sugar mills CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Shanti and Sadhana through Music L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles When nations steal growth from one another… CII projects higher growth… L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Sri Lanka votes for change Revving up the manufacturing sector Maximising the micro pricing … The why of tax incentives PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals IAS invades NDDB... Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Editor's Says Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Build close rapport with business leaders No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Convulsions in The Hindu Gas is the way forward Things happen by accident and not by design... WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform …and of a popular trade leader Demise of a media baron... Align crops to agro climate endowments… Modi and the lady Haul over the coal Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Towards speedy justice For whom the MIDS bell tolls? The star of Spencers is no more When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Gay abandon in pricing This scant respect for Law Solar, solar everywhere … The brown list of Venkitaramanan A welcome initiative by the judiciary TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Readers' Mail Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Medical costs hit the roof... S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Where is Rajaji? Delhi Chalo... No engine for this car Welcome focus on core competence When Ratan Tata visited SRM SoA @ 80 Kinetic Karnataka The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Cutting the nose to spite the face Funding the un-funded Should we change the official year? A glass full of corruption When the President was rendered homeless… Fortune 500 review Rahman at CIC Parliament in paralysis... Put expensive assets created to use... Fortune for Indian Airlines Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks A think tank for Chennai Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Mu Sigma – is no more TIAM turns a full cycle IPL type auction for VCs? Five star activism stalls development activity A yen for wastage… A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Intellectual of rare qualities Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Another Indian music maestro at the UN Airlines in India: cost and space Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Nuclear power at the nucleus F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra EVM is tamper-proof The power-full Hindujas The few handicaps... A friendly business group Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan EEC at the National Media Centre Valli, they are more marginalised No Maha Koottani in TN... Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Banning booze... Why land prices zoom in TN? Shale gas and its shallow future A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Protest masters... Secularism and anti-Hinduism There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Tribute Come elections, come advertisements... More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Which side are you, Montek? Plummeting profits of PSBs When small is no larger beautiful.. Tatas moving out of urea production... Silver Years of Madras Musings Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Noble nonagenarians... Road development slows down Making ‘my Amaravati’... Small units prefers to remain small... An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara An inexplicable neglect An enemy’s enemy is a friend All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Discoms deserve better… Quality education through the PPP mode He saved millions from starvation... Kudos to NDTV... Moily’s bold thrust ONGC at KG Basin Tough task taking states together China invests in India Contrarian cousins MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Roaring Ro-Ro facility GM Technology at last! Make standards certification mandatory... TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... IPL - no surprise this scam Excel Generators provide the vital back-up For whom the bell tolls? The rise and rise of KCP TGS- The king storyteller West Bengal: mindless malignancy Solar thermal shines… Streamlining mandatory third party cover PC’s preference for professionals A professional at the helm of IRDA... Welcome GST Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Kulandai was a giant Waning interest in public discussions… Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Adharma of opposition politics Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Strengthen the base... The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu The sea- saw battle continues... Music happens Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi TELANGANA at last…BUT Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Breaththrough in malaria control More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Cement prices continue to rise… A more liberated TN… A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science He continues the focus on social amelioration Revive development banks... Tatas moving out of urea production... Multi-faceted Venkat Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Shipping woes of Chennai companies S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! The Jan Dhan bonanza Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Return to king coal for urea... The nuclear option Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Tax agriculture CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Building loyalty through the stomach The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more A proud Madrasi More tributes to GR The Gulf aviation boom The rise and fall of Annamalai University Robber barons everywhere Fuel for thought Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Telangana in top gear… Delhi is distant Pharma – overdose of copying Boy, can you beat these? Editor's Notes Marketing expert Balagopal is no more New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Quality silica from Neyveli Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Modi storms Silicon Valley Mersal magnified Delhi is distant… Poor quality of university VCs Vibrant Gujarat Polls and promises Where a state respects its litterateurs… The Swadeshi Trump Paytm karo... Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL London, London Narayan A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... More heat than light Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Auto components surge… Delhi returns to BJP R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital The balancing act Muffled voices for merit… Russi Mody – a tribute Wise Presidents Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Why this malaise in medical education? Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ How Air-India loses customs... Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai B H Kothari - a tribute Sweeter prospects for sugar
Shale gas and its shallow future
Letters to the Editor


I read, with great interest, the article written by Bhamy V Shenoy titled “Little effort to exploit rich reserves”. The writer had queried: “Why is Reliance not investing in Indian, but is investing in US shale gas assets?

    One reason could be that the Indian shale gas permeability characteristics may be different. Current fracking technologies are designed for rigid and brittle shale, rich in organic material and in gas. Indian shale may be younger, softer and more ductile.

In the US, most of the shale gas is located in low intensity of land use, whereas, in India, it is found in agriculture intensive areas.  In the US, mineral rights rest with the property owner. In India, the problems in land acquisition are part of folklore. Fracking requires large quantities of water. The US has fewer water problems than India has.

Reliance is following the corporate India‘s policy of ‘Quit India’.  Government needs to move from business-friendly policy to market - determined policy, which will stop this ‘Quit India’ movement.

In India, 50 per cent of the time from discovery-to-delivery is wasted in lengthy processes of getting various clearances. Out of 117 NELP discoveries as of April 2012, development plan has been approved only for 11 per cent of the discoveries. Very few discoveries are under production, even as we spend Rs 1800 crore in importing oil every day.  The key is to reduce the discovery-to-delivery time.

Does the government have the will to take judicious and speedy decisions to foster India‘s energy independence?

– Uppili R


Author’s response:

Uppili has raised some relevant questions regarding the reluctance of Reliance to look for shale gas. He has also raised a few issues of a general nature relating to India’s energy independence.

True, geologic formation of Indian shale reserves may be different from the one found in other parts of the world. Thus, there will be some need for tweaking shale gas technology to develop shale reserves in India. But this may not be the factor preventing Reliance.

While conventional oil and gas needs less than one well per square

kilometre, shale gas needs about 2-6 wells. While in the US and in China the population density is 33.7 and 139.6 per square kilometre, India’s is 370. Similarly, where total renewable water sources of India is 1908 cubic km, the same for China and USA are 2829 and 3069 cubic km respectively. So India is naturally less endowed in this front also. According to the ONGC CMD, India also faces many other challenges like not having access to sophisticated drilling rigs, different services involved in conducting seismic and drilling operations, lags in fracking services, specialised logging, lax standards to prevent the potential leakage of fracking chemicals into water bodies... However, all these are not insurmountable problems.

Even the US faces problems from a strong environmental lobby where shale revolution has been a game changer. Still oil companies, including Reliance, are investing to develop shale  gas production due to huge returns.

Any student of international oil industry will quickly learn that no obstacle is insurmountable for the international oil industry if there are ample oil and gas reserves, a good legal framework and sufficient opportunities to earn an adequate rate of return. While India seems to meet the first criterion of shale reserves, there are big question marks on the latter two criteria. In my view, if the government can create an environment where investors have ample opportunity to earn an attractive return, oil companies, including Reliance, can overcome any obstacle.

Regarding the energy independence suggested by Uppili, our Petroleum Minister has been making outlandish predictions. Earlier in Mangalore on 11 Nov 2012 he had announced that his ministry is planning to reduce oil imports from the current 80 per cent level to 30 to 40 per cent within five years. Then he became even bolder and predicted that India will achieve oil sufficiency by 2020. Instead of making misleading prophecies, Moily should foster speedy decision making to improve oil and gas supply-demand balance.  On that point, I agree with Uppili.

– Dr Bhamy Shenoy

Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236