U.S. Trade and Development Agency

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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357




RIL CEO and President PMS Prasad (left) and USTDA Regional Director Carl B. Kress (right) shake hands and exchange documents following the award of the USTDA grant on the development of the first commercial CBG project in India.


NEW DELHI – (May 17, 2006) Promoting the development of India’s energy resources to help meet the nation’s growing energy needs is the goal of a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant awarded today to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a private Indian company and a leader in the effort to develop India’s coal bed methane (CBM) resources.  The $506,000 grant will partially fund technical assistance to RIL to develop a Sohagpur CBM project, which will be the first commercial CBM project in India.


The grant was officially conferred during a signing ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Delhi.  Mr. Carl B. Kress, USTDA Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, and Mr. PMS Prasad, CEO and President of RIL, signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. government and RIL, respectively.  Mr. David L. Pumphrey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Mr. B. Ganuly, Vice President of Commercial Petroleum Business for RIL, signed as witnesses to the grant agreement. 


The government of India has prioritized the development of CBM as a means to meet the country’s growing energy demands utilizing domestic supply sources.  In 2002, RIL was awarded exploration licenses by the government for the development of CBM resources in the Sohagpur East and Sohagpur West concession blocks in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.


The USTDA grant awarded today reflects the agency’s commitment to support India in the development of its energy resources.  Specifically, the grant will assist RIL in assessing the market and gas infrastructure requirements for the commercial development of these concession blocks. 


RIL has selected Advanced Resources International, Inc. (ARI), based in Arlington, Virginia, to perform the technical assistance.  In addition to the USTDA grant, RIL will contribute additional resources towards the completion of the technical assistance.


Over the past decade, USTDA has actively supported the development of the CBM sector in India through the agency’s sponsorship of two orientation visits and several early investment analysis studies.  In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USTDA is also working with the Indian Ministries of Coal and of Petroleum and Natural Gas to support the establishment of a Coal Bed Methane Clearinghouse in India. 


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.