Gas find fuels debate

Energy analysts divided on the impact of the discovery off the Andhra coast

Published: Saturday 30 November 2002

will Reliance Industries Limited's recent discovery of a large gas field off the coast of Andhra Pradesh affect the Indian energy market? "Significant" -- is how experts term Reliance's success in the deepwater block which it secured in partnership with Niko Resources of Canada in the first round of bidding under the New Exploration Licensing Policy of India. At the same time, they add that it "might not be enough" to meet the country's gas needs.

"Though the gas find is substantial

it does not change everything else," says Girish Sant, member, Prayas Energy Group, a Pune-based non-governmental organisation. Currently, the demand for gas is around 150 million metric standard cubic metres (mmscmd) while the supply is about 65 mmscmd. According to Mukesh Ambani, chairperson, Reliance, the in-place volume of natural gas found is in excess of 7 trillion cubic feet (approximately 200 billion cubic metres) -- equivalent to about 1.2 billion barrels or 165 million tonnes of crude oil. He said that based on the recoverable reserves, gas availability to consumers in the country would increase by almost 60 per cent. But experts opine that the discovery may adversely affect many ongoing projects to import liquefied natural gas in the country. "The discovery will affect the viability of these projects," says a public sector oil company official.

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