The government will come out with shale gas policy by December-end, a senior government official said on Tuesday. The policy will address the issue of a decline in domestic gas output and exorbitant price of imported liquified natural gas (LNG) as it would provide an alternate source to extract gas.
“I am very confident that we will be able to take it out (shale gas policy) by the end of this calendar year,” petroleum secretary G C Chaturvedi said at the 11th Petro India conference.
At present, the country does not allow the commercial extraction of shale gas. Public sector explorers, such as ONGC and Oil India, have taken up preliminary surveys to estimate the country’s shale gas potential. Shale gas discoveries in the US and Canada has changed the landscape of their energy sector, with the US witnessing a sharp fall in its electricity tariff due to the availability of cheaper fuel.
The petroleum ministry will also be increasing the cap on subsidised domestic cooking gas cylinders from six to nine per household. It is expected that the additional cost of servicing nine subsidised cylinders would be borne by the oil marketing companies. “We will be sending the proposal to the Cabinet shortly,” said petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily.
The government is trying hard to roll out direct cash subsidy transfer. “We will start paying cash subsidy for domestic cooking gas consumers in 20 districts out of the 51 targeted by January 2013, said Chaturvedi. The process would be applicable to consumers availing Aadhaar numbers.
“Wherever it (Aadhaar penetration) is less than 80-90%, it can’t be the basis of transfer. This will create exclusion... It is a very difficult task. While 20 districts are ready, for the balance 31 districts, it will take another one to two months,” Chaturvedi said. At present, Aadhaar penetration is just 20 crore against a total population of about 120 crore.