‘Tight oil’: What is shale and its potential in India

What is the News?

Cairn Oil & Gas has announced that it is partnering with US-based Halliburton to start shale exploration in the Lower Barmer Hill formation, Western Rajasthan. 

What is Shale Oil?
Source: Wikipedia

​​Shale oil is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale rock fragments.

How does Shale Oil differ from conventional crude oil? The key difference between shale oil (also known as Tight Oil) and conventional crude is that the shale oil is conventional crude deposits. Its extraction requires the creation of fractures in oil and gas rich shale to release hydrocarbons through a process called hydraulic fracking.

What are the challenges in Shale Oil Exploration? Environmental concerns around massive water requirements for fracking and potential for groundwater contamination.

Who are the Largest Producers of Shale Oil? Russia and the US are among the largest shale oil producers in the world, with a surge in shale oil production in the US having played a key role in turning the country from an importer of crude to a net exporter in 2019. 

Shale Oil Exploration in India: Currently, there is no large-scale commercial production of shale oil and gas in India. 

Note: Earlier, State-owned ONGC had found prospects of shale oil at the Cambay basin in Gujarat and the Krishna Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh. However, the company concluded that the quantity of oil flow observed in these basins did not indicate “commerciality” and that the general characteristics of Indian shales are quite different from North American ones.

Source: This post is based on the article “‘Tight oil’: What is shale and its potential in Indiapublished by Indian Express on 18th Nov 2021.

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