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Lignite and Crude Oil


Indian lignite deposits occur in the Tertiary sediments in the southern and western parts of peninsular shield particularly in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. The total known geological reserves of lignite as on 1.4.2014 is about 43.25 billion tonnes, of which 79% reserves are located in Tamil Nadu with about 34.35 billion tonnes. Other states where lignite deposits have been located are Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The largest lignite reserve in India is located at Neyveli in Tamil Nadu. At places, these coal seams are more than 15 metres thick. This coal has more than 35 per cent carbon content. Neyveli Lignite Corporation has been set up for multipurpose use of this coal, after enrichment of its carbon content. Bagrakot and Tindharia in West Bengal and Bikaner in Rajasthan are other notable deposits.

Crude Oil

The oldest (1882) and one of the largest (65 oil-field in India at Digboi in Lakhimpur district of Assam, is still in production. Bappapung and Hunsapung are sister fields of Digboi.In the Surma valley, Badarpur, Masimpur and Patharia yield poor quality oil.

Refineries for Assam crude are at Digboi, Guwahati (Nunmati) and Bongaigaon, connected by a pipeline which also carry crude to Barauni refinery in Bihar. The pipeline is 1,150 km long. Barauni is also linked by pipelines with Haldia and Kanpur.

Gujarat’s oil wells are at Amkleswar (largest), Cambay, Kalol, Kosamba, Mehsana, Nowgam, Dholka, Lunej, Sananda, Wavel Bakal and Kathana. The Gujarat crude is refined at Kayali (Koyali) refinery  (now second largest refinery in India) which is linked by pipes to its several tributary fields. Mathura, will receive imported crude from Salaya, a new port in the Gulf of Kutch. Bombay High in the Arabian sea, 152 km north-west of Bombay city, has rich deposits of oil and gas, which are being sent by submarine pipelines to Uran of the mainland.

India has surpassed China to become the largest contributor to incremental oil consumption in 2016, accounting for 21.8 per cent of it. In addition, industrial fuels contributed more to this growth than vehicular fuels, reflecting the shift to more efficient pet coke and away from coal and improving economic activity.  India’s oil consumption grew 8.3 per cent to 212.7 million tonnes in 2016 compared with global growth of 1.5 per cent, making it the third largest oil consuming nation in the world.

The composition of Indian growth is unique as it’s due to 8-22 per cent growth in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), aviation turbine fuel (ATF), petroleum coke and fuel oil unlike gasoline and diesel being key growth drivers in other countries.

In the long term, the increasing focus on renewable energy may play a critical role in deciding India’s dependence on conventional fuel. Linearity with GDP growth and oil consumption may not continue given the Indian government’s focus on electricity.

The new Indian government has promised to put the economy back on an accelerated growth path with reforms in the energy, financial, and employment sectors. Energy is the backbone of the Indian economy, so the right energy policies will spur growth in all other sectors. Already the world’s fourth largest energy consumer, there is an urgent need to get the policy right: current demand for imported coal, oil, and natural gas is significantly outpacing domestic production, and the country is being forced to spend valuable foreign capital to procure additional energy resources. Investing in domestic oil and natural gas exploration is a long-term solution that will help quench India’s growing energy demands, smartly.

India does not have to remain this dependent on foreign energy commodities. An estimated 75% of India’s sedimentary basins have yet to be adequately explored. Of the 26 known sedimentary basins in the country, only seven are currently producing oil and gas.

Since 1950, roughly 69 trillion cubic feet of proven and probable recoverable gas reserves have been discovered in India. However, only 42 trillion cubic feet have been developed and are currently under production. That leaves 18 trillion cubic feet of reserves yet to be produced and 27 trillion cubic feet of reserves yet to be developed. According to an analysis of 12 basins across India, approximately 64 trillion cubic feet of risked recoverable resources are yet to be found. Thus, India holds at least 91 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves.

On top of conventional gas reserves, India also holds an estimated 63 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. While these reserves are considered to be a secondary energy option, Indian agencies are encouraging exploration, and leading companies, such as ONGC and OIL, have implemented pilot projects to assess the shale opportunity.

India’s energy future remains hidden in unexplored, difficult-to-access basins across the country. Technological advancements make exploration and discovery of these reserves possible, though recent issues such as fuel-stranded power plants highlight logistical and infrastructure challenges.

With further incentive from India to take on these exploratory and expansion projects, there is an incredible opportunity to narrow India’s energy imbalance and reinvest the nearly $306,000,000 spent daily on foreign energy sources. GE is supporting these efforts through a commitment to oil and gas innovation and the introduction of technologies that reduce dependence on foreign energy.

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