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India’s Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (EOGEPL) is planning to invest $244.39m (Rs20bn) to develop its coal bed methane (CBM) project in Raniganj Block in the state of West Bengal, reported the Press Trust of India (PTI) via the Economic Times (ET), citing an official.

The new investment comes in addition to the company’s existing investment of $610.98m for drilling 350 wells in the Raniganj block.

Following the drilling of the 350 wells, the company is currently producing nearly 0.9 million cubic metres of gas per day (mcmd).

Pankaj Kalra, CEO of EOGEPL, a subsidiary of Essar Exploration & Production, told the PTI that the company plans to make another investment to drill additional 200 wells in the next 18–24 months.

Kalra said: “We are employing the latest technology in the existing wells to ramp up production from 0.9mcmd to 1.3mcmd, which will be completed in a few months.”

The company’s total CBM production from the Ranigunj block is expected to reach around 3mcmd following the commissioning of the additional wells, Kalra said.

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By GlobalData

Upon drilling of the additional wells, the company’s contribution to India’s total CBM production is expected to increase to about 90% from nearly 65% currently.

In this year, Essar is also planning to drill two shale gas wells at the Raniganj block, as a pilot project.

Covering an area of 500km², the Raniganj CBM block is located in the prolific Damodar Valley Basin with thick Permo-Carboniferous Gondwana coal seams.

Last year, Essar Group proposed plans to construct a petrochemical complex in the eastern state of Odisha, with an investment of $4.92bn.

The oil to petrochemical complex is expected to have an annual capacity of 7.5 million tonnes.