Coal Ministry wants relinquished CBM blocks for power producers

The Coal Ministry has asked the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to hand over the relinquished coal bed methane (CBM) blocks that were earlier allocated for exploring gas.

It wants to re-allocate these blocks with substantial coal deposits to power producers, a senior Government official told Business Line.

Both the Ministries have already discussed the issue. On Monday, Coal Secretary Sanjay Kumar Srivastava is expected to send a formal proposal with the exact number of blocks to his counterpart, Vivek Rae, in the Oil Ministry.

“Several CBM blocks have been relinquished because of inadequate gas reserves. But these have potential coal reserves, which can be mined and used for electricity generation,” the official said. The Government is planning to facilitate captive coal blocks to power producers to meet their fuel requirement.

CBM is a form of natural gas drilled from virgin coal beds. According to the Oil Ministry, which has allocated blocks for CBM exploration through competitive bidding, 33 contracts were signed. It is not immediately known how many of these have been relinquished by the contractors.

CBM blocks have been allocated in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Assam. All these block areas are rich in coal reserves.

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