The 15 coal bed methane (CBM) blocks, which are part of the 54 blocks that the government identified for auctioning to state-run and private companies, would be demarcated by the oil ministry and given to the coal ministry.
It may be recalled that recently, the coal ministry asked the oil ministry to demarcate the coal bearing areas of these CBM mines, relinquish them and hand them over for auction.
These 15 blocks having mix of both coal and gas should be relinquished early with demarcated boundaries. The oil ministry has to ensure that the blocks either explored or unexplored have been relinquished before surrendering them.
The oil ministry received a list of the 15 CBM blocks falling in the overlapped areas, which includes blocks like Bishtupur-Dandeshwar of Essar Oil in Raniganj coalfields, Aluara block allocated to jointly to Coal India and ONGC and the Patasi block of Reliance Industries.
The government has so far allocated 33 CBM blocks in four rounds of bidding with an area size of 168 square kilometres of for CBM exploration.
The petroleum ministry is planning to conduct another round of auctions. The coal ministry has apprehensions about the prospect of the same set of blocks being allocated again, which would mean that coal reserves would remain unexplored. This is the reason it is planning for their demarcation.