Murli Deora expects India and US collaborate in shale gas exploration

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Mumbai, Oct.18 (ANI): Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora said here today that the country is planning to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States during the forthcoming visit of the U.S President Barack Obama in shale gas exploration.

Speaking at an event to mark the opening of a new bidding round for conventional oil and gas blocks, here on Monday, Deora said: "We are trying that there can be some cooperation in getting the technology on shale gas between America and India, when the President (US President Barack Obama) is visiting India. We are trying to see if we can conclude a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between US government and Indian government."

Oil Secretary S Sundareshan said the Central government will launch a shale gas bidding round before the end of 2011.

India is offering 34 oil and gas blocks in its latest exploration round which is being launch on Friday. In its previous eight rounds of auctions, New Delhi has awarded 235 blocks.

Earlier on October 15, Oil Minister had said India expects investments of 14 billion dollars in its ninth licensing round for exploration blocks.

Technology to extract gas from shale involves drilling multiple horizontal wells and using hydraulic fracturing to release gas from tight reservoirs, and has transformed the U.S. energy market in recent years.

Reliance Industries, acquired a 60 percent stake in a U.S. based shale gas joint venture in August, taking its shale gas assets in the United States to three.

The owner of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani expressed his interest in the latest round of auction.

"Personally I have great confidence in offshore oil and gas exploration in India and I think that all the NELP (New Exploration Licensing Policy) rounds have been success and I am sure NELP 9 will be an equal success," said Ambani.

"As far as Reliance is concerned obviously we evaluate all our opportunities at different times and I don't want to use this platform to make any announcement on Reliance but we are enthusiastic about all the existing acreage that we have and we look forward to adding to India's energy security and we look forward to finding more oil and gas in India and keep all off you informed," he added. (ANI)

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