GEECL seeks nod for shale gas exploration
Kolkata: Over Rs 15,000 crore investment in West Bengal by Great Eastern Energy (GEECL) is being held up following no amendment of mining lease by the state. UK-headquartered GEECL is planning to start shale gas exploration along with coal bed methane (CBM) it is doing in Raniganj. Sources close to the development said that GEECL has applied to the state government for amendment of existing mining lease and to include shale gas exploration in the lease along with CBM. The Centre has allowed exploration of shale gas by CBM operators in 2018. “The Centre has given deemed approval for shale for all CBM operators. But mining lease with state has to be changed accordingly,” added sources. When contacted, a GEECL spokesperson said, “We have received the environment clearance to start our Shale exploration program, and we are looking forward to receiving the pending approval to amend our current mining lease in order for us to start the program. An investment of Rs. 15,000 crore is envisaged in the entire Shale programme, which can potentially generate thousands of direct / indirect jobs and attract major investments in the downstream sector in the State of West Bengal.” GEECL has so far paid around Rs 30 crore on account of royalty and taxes (VAT/ GST) to the state for FY 2020. Combined estimated value of the CM and shale gas reserve of GEECL is around $ 14 billion. According to market reports, GAIL (India) Limited’s upcoming &Jagdishpur – Haldia and Bokaro – Dhamra pipeline —pquot; is expected to be operational by February 2021. This pipeline will provide the Company with the opportunity to expand its customer base and sales significantly by accessing the huge market of Kolkata and also to the wider state of West Bengal.