India could be world number 4 in coal bed methane

Indian coal bed methane (CBM) pioneer Yogendra Modi believes the country’s huge coal fields could provide 10 per cent of its fast-growing gas needs within 20 years, displacing some potentially costly imports. His company, London-listed Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd (GEECL), is set to deliver its first annual net profit this year as it ramps up CBM output ahead of a share sale in its home country. GEECL makes its money persuading industrialists in West Bengal to convert their generators from heavy fuel oil, or furnace oil, to natural gas. The gas is fed to their doorsteps through GEECL’s proprietary pipelines from rich virgin coal deposits less than 60 kilometres away. The selling point? It’s half the price of furnace oil and other liquid oil fuels, still the second most important industrial energy source in the country behind coal. Modi offers his customers gas at $12 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) delivered via its own 100 kilometre pipeline network to the steel works and food processors of Asansol, Raniganj and Durgapur.

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