Natural Gas has got a lot of press these days as massive discoveries of natural gas reserves in shale gas formations has meant that the prices have gone down substanitally and new power plants and infrastructure is being developed to use natural gas as fuel.Even as crude oil and coal prices have gone through the roof,natural gas prices have dived.This is due to the new technology being commercialized which is allowing huge shale gas deposits to be used.This has led to forecasts that natural gas will become a more important part of the energy mix in the coming days.The falling prices of natural gas has also led to declining electricity prices in the USA where shale gas development is the most advanced.Natural Gas prices have gone down to as low as $3.5/mmbtu from $8 in 2008 and experts predict that it may go down to $2.5/mmbtu.Shale Gas has its own critics who say that the shale gas deposits are much lower than being said and they deplete much faster.Environmental concerns are also being raised about the fact that it leads to poisoning of the water supplies with France banning shale gas mining completely.Natural Gas is a byproduct of Oil Drilling and in the earlier days it used to be looked upon as an irritant and burned off.But now it is being used to generate power,in chemical and fertilizer plants and also being used in some parts of power vehicles as well.Natural Gas is also used for Heating in most western developed countries and for Cooking as well.With increasing availability it is replacing coal and oil in power plants and transport now.

Natural gas is rightly termed as the Fuel of the 21st Century, has emerged as the most preferred fuel due to its efficiency and cost effectiveness. The demand of natural gas has sharply increased in the last two decades at the global level. The production of natural gas is around 87 million standard cubic meters per day. The main producers of natural gas are Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), Oil India Limited (OIL) and JVs of Tapti, Panna-Mukta and Ravva. Even private parties from some fields produce gas under Production Sharing Contracts. Government has also offered blocks under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) to private and public sector companies with the right to market gas at market determined prices. In India most of the production of gas comes from the Western offshore area. The on-shore fields in Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat States are other major producers of gas. Smaller quantities of gas are also produced in Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan States. OIL operates in Assam and Rajasthan States, whereas ONGC is operating in the Western offshore fields and in other states. Prior to 1987, gas prices were fixed by ONGC/OIL. since 1987, the price is being fixed by Government. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has been regulating the allocation and pricing of gas produced by ONGC and OIL by issuing administrative orders from time to time. The gas produced by the JVs and by NELP operators is governed by the respective production sharing contracts between the Government and the producers. Under the existing policy, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is allowed for both LNG projects and natural gas pipeline projects.

Natural Gas in USA is seeing massive investments and interest due to very large shale gas discoveries enabled by improvements in Gas Drilling and Extraction Technology.Billions of Dollars have been invested by domestic and international oil and gas companies.Plans are being made to Export Natural Gas from America as the price of Natural Gas in USA has now become considerably lower than other parts of the world.While prices of other Fossil Fuels like Oil and Coal are rising at steep rate,Natural Gas Prices have fallen even below the 2008 crisis levels and are now at around $3.5/mmbtu.With production increasing Natural Gas is increasingly looking to garner marketshare gains in the energy sector in the US.Countries around the world like India and China are also looking to tap shale gas deposits as Energy Scarcity increases around the globe.

Note Indian ministries and regulators have been found to be massively corrupt with the 2G Telecom Scandal facing the glare from the Supreme Court .Huge loss has been caused by ministers,corporate CEOs and various politicians a number of which are in jail right now.The CAG report had said that Reliance had doubled its cost in the KG-6 Basin leading to a huge loss for the Indian government.A number of other lapses (intentional) has been found by the DGH and the Ministry each time favoring the private oil and gas companies in India.Now the CBI has filed a case of corruption against the the former chief of the DGH V K Sibal for scuttling a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for showing undue favors to the private companies.Note India has been stuck by a number of scams in the stock market pertaining to mid cap and small caps.This has led to huge losses for investors with some companies like Reliance Telecom,Unitech having over 90% of their share values eroded.Reliance the biggest Indian company by market capitalization might be facing the same fate if the investigative agencies and the courts do their jobs.

Now India’s Largest Company Reliance too has seen its stock fall to a post Lehman low on concerns that it has colluded with the Oil Regulator and Ministry to gold plate its costs in the KG 6 Gas concession.Reliance is India’s biggest oil and gas company with interests throughout the supply chain.Note its nothing new as Reliance has always been known to be the most powerful corporate in India .However with the government’s own auditing department CAG raising allegations of collusion and corruption,Reliance too may find itself snared in the corruption scandal.Note the infamous Nira Radia tapes had ample proof of how the powerful Reliance group manages the appointment of its favored persons in key federal ministries.The company must now by hoping that the Supreme Court which is already preoccupied with a ton of corruption cases does not take a keen interest and gets the CBI to investigate the allegations.

The dangers of Hydraulic Fracking which is used to extract Shale Gas has become one of the biggest environmental issues for Big Oil and Gas companies.Shale Gas Extraction has seen doubts being raised against its Environmental Safety Record.This new form of Fossil Fuel Extraction has seen a Gold Rush from Global Oil and Gas Majors looking to tap into this major new Energy Form.In the initial helter-skelter,environmental norms have been bypassed.The controversial Fracking Process leads to chemical contamination of water bodies leading to disease and sickness among local animals and humans.Shale Gas Companies and Local Officials have also been accused of conniving to break regulations and laws regarding water usage.The use of new techniques to extract gas from shale formations has gained huge traction in the United State with major companies like Chevron,Exxon spending billions of dollars to acquire companies with shale gas assets and technology.Indian and Chinese companies like Reliance too have spent their billions to gain a slice of the lucrative new Gas pie.However the environmental dangers of using fracking has kept cropping up despite efforts by Big Oil and Gas to suppress.