US offers technical expertise to exploit shale gas potential

Washington: The US has offered to India and China its full expertise and technical knowhow to exploit the full potential of shale gas to reduce dependence on foreign oil and move towards its goal of energy independence, reports PTI.

As such the Obama administration has proposed do a resource assessment of certain shale basins in India by the US Geological Survey, and provide workshops to train Indian geophysicists on how to do their own resource assessments.

"What we have offered to India is to bring our best knowledge about how you make that estimate, how you make that resource evaluation, and to bring our scientists to them to talk about that," US Coordinator for International Energy Affairs David Goldwyn said.

"We are waiting for India's reaction and we're hopeful that they'll do it.

"I think you can't tell until you drill, but the shale presence is there," Mr Goldwyn told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Shale Gas Initiative Conference.

Representatives from 17 countries including India and China are participating in the two-day international conference hosted by the US State Department as part of its aim to help countries around the world to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

The US shale gas phenomenon has transformed global energy markets, he said, adding that because the United States has the technology to develop efficiently large quantities of gas from shale, global prices of liquefied natural gas have decreased.

"Gas has become cheaper. Gas is now competitive with coal on a British thermal unit (Btu) basis, which means that countries that might use coal can now not make an economic choice, but on a competitive basis choose gas for their next level of power generation," Mr Goldwyn said.

India has a licensing round probably in September, he said, adding the pace of development will probably come with whether there's success in these first basins, whether there's an assessment of what they have.

"Reliance has made an investment in a US company to learn the technology, and what a lot of countries are doing is they're trying to find out how it's done.

"So it'll depend on success and, in India in particular, depend on the price of gas," the US official said.

Mr Goldwyn said the US had entered into a memorandum of understanding with India during the visit of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to Washington last November.

The US has also signed a similar memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China.

"We have MoUs signed with China and India, but there are follow-up steps that are needed to begin implementation, although, we will have our first workshop in China, 9th to 11th November so we'll be underway in China," Mr Goldwyn said.

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