Asansol: Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd (GEECL), which inaugurated India’s first coal bed methane (CBM)-based CNG gas station here, plans to invest Rs 3,000 crore in CBM exploration and distribution by 2013.
GEECL, which already has 23 CBM wells in the Asansol -Burnpur block, would drill 80 more production wells in the first phase by 2009. It plans to drill 200 additional wells in the second phase, said company Chairman and CEO Y K Modi.
Located 200 km away from Kolkata, the block has about 1.92 trillion cubic feet of gas and is likely to be commercially viable for the next 25 years.
“We have enough demand in this industrial belt with two steel plants, power plants and several other factories and CBM would replace conventional energy sources like oil and coal,” Modi said.
GEECL plans to set up CBM-based CNG stations for motor vehicles at Asansol, Barakar and Durgapur in Burdwan district of West Bengal and would extend its supply to Kolkata only at a later stage.
“We have set an attractive price of Rs 30 per kg of CNG and very soon five more CNG stations would come up in this belt along the highways,” he said after the inauguration of the first CNG station by West Bengal Industries Minister Nirupam Sen yesterday.
GEECL, which got listed on the Alternative Investment Market of London Stock Exchange in December 2005, has Rs 203 crore equity and would take Rs 350 crore debt from banks. Rest of the funds would come from sales of its products, Modi said.
With huge coal reserves, it was first started by GEECL in 1992 and the process would lead to demethanation of coal beds and avoidance of harmful methane emissions in the atmosphere.
CBM exploration and its use as fuel has been in vogue in the US and the technology and expertise has been imported from that country, Modi said.
At present there are 10 blocks, of which eight were auctioned and one each were given to GEECL and ONGC.
“GEECL is the first to have started commercial production of CBM in India,” Modi said.
West Bengal Industries Minister Nirupam Sen said: “if this is made viable, the industrial scenario in the state will witness a dramatic change.”
Steel and sponge iron plants, ceramic industries and alloy steel plants would benefit from CBM supplies in and around Asansol area, company Chief Operating Officer Prashant Modi said.