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