Asia’s first shale gas pool found near Durgapur

The potential answer to the world’s energy woes, lying buried under 1770 metres of hard rock in the Damodar basin, has finally been unearthed. ONGC scientists have found an “unlimited reserve” of shale gas, touted as the low-cost, ecofriendly fuel of the future with vast untapped resources, at Sarpi on the outskirts of Durgapur at a site spread over an area of 1250-1300 sqkm. The Sarpi deposit is Asia’s first, and the only tapped shale gas reserve outside North America, making it the focal point in India’s pursuit of green energy. The ONGC, which began its exploration of the Damodar basin last September in India’s first such experimental project, hit upon the gas source late on Monday while drilling its first rig. On Wednesday, R S Sharma, the CMD of ONGC, is likely to submit a report on thediscovery to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sources said it was likely that the PM would make the announcement on Republic Day itself.

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