New Delhi: State-owned CIL has invited expression of interest from companies for carrying out studies to assess methane reserves of coalfields as part of efforts to increase energy supply and overcome fuel crunch.

"Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (a CIL arm) invites expression of interest for undertaking R&D (research and development) work under...Ministry of Coal from established R&D/scientific institues...for carrying out scientific studies on...CBM (coal bed methane) reserves estimation for Indian Coalfields," CIL said on its website.

The tender which opened last week will expire next month, Coal India Ltd (CIL) said.

"India has large coal reserves which may be amenable for harnessing of coal bed methane. Several blocks have been carved out and alloted for commercial extraction of CBM."

Carving out more blocks in the greenfield areas for commercial development of CBM is to be taken up on priority basis to augment energy supply in the country. For reliable assessment of CBM resource for carving out CBM blocks in greenfield areas, proving of coal reserves is a pre-requisite," the tender document said.

India's CBM production is estimated to reach 4 million standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) by 2016-17, as compared to the current level of 0.23 mmscmd in 2011-12.

In order to increase production of CBM, 33 bocks have been awarded so far, according to a government release. The total commercial production of CBM in the country in 2011-12 (up to February, 2012) was 74.833 mmscmd.

The gap between the demand and supply of coal touched 161.5 million tonnes in the last fiscal. The demand was 696 MT in 2011-12, while the supply was 534.5 MT.

CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output, produced around 436 MT fuel last fiscal.


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