The government is considering an open acreage system for oil and gas blocks that may be overlapping with coal bed methane (CBM) blocks. Open acreage involves an alternative to the licensing route, under which a potential explorer can pay a fee and start digging without having to bid for licences.
Scope for simultaneous operations for CBM as well as the oil and gas exploration in the same area exists in Cambay basin (Gujarat), Barmer basin (Rajasthan) and Cauvery basin (Tamil Nadu), where both CBM and oil occur in the same basinal area.
The draft strategy paper on simultaneous exploration and production of coal bed methane and oil and gas has suggested that overlapping CBM block or oil and gas may be offered through transparent international competitive bidding system as followed in CBM Policy or New Exploration Licensing Policy.
“Cases where geological conditions are such that CBM and oil and gas are in very close vicinity in the vertical geological sequence and different operators are not possible, the existing operator (either CBM or oil and gas block) may be given right of first refusal in the open transparent bidding process,” it stated.