Short essay on Distribution of Coal in India

(1) Coking Coal.

It is used for iron and steel industry and smelting. It is found in Jharia coal mines. Ordinary coking coal is found in Raniganj and the western part of Jharia, Bokaro, Ramgarh, northern Karanpura (Damodar Valley) and in some mines of M.P

(2) Ordinary Coal.

Apart from coking coal the ordinary variety of coal has reserve of 64 billion tonnes. This type of coal is used in railway engines, steamships, thermal electric plants, chemical industry and for domestic purposes.

This type of coal is found in (i) Western Raniganj, (ii) Karanpura (Northern and Southern part), (iii) Bokaro (iv) Rajmahal (Damodar Valley) (v) Talcher (Mahanadi Valley) (vi) Singrauli, Korba, Sohagpura (vii) Sanhat (Sone Valley) (viii) Kampatee (Maharashtra) (ix) Godavari Valley (A.P)

India being a large country its every state tries to get coal from the nearest source in order to cut transport charges and its early supply. As such:

(i) The Northern states of India depend upon coal produced in Raniganj, Jharia, Bokaro, Karanpura, Rajmahal and Singrauli.

(ii) The Southern Indian States meet their coal demand from coal of Godavari valley mines.

(iii) The north-eastern states draw coal from Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya states, situated close by.

(3) Lignite Coal (Production).

This poor quality coal is extracted in various parts of the country like Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan (Bikaner), Gujarat (Bharauch and Kutchch) and Tamil Nadu (Neyveli).

Coal Conservation.

Coal conservation is an important concern of mine planning and operation. Mechanized open-cast mining is practised. Since most of Indian coal occurs in thick seams and in shallow depths, special techniques in order to minimize wastage and maximizing recovery have been developed in case of underground mining. Blasting gallery method is increasing in popularity.

It gives excellent results. In thick seam and steep coal mines in Assam, (Margheritta area) Shield mining system is employed. In this direction constant applied research is being carried out in the fields of production, safety, coal utilization environment and ecology.

Coal mining industry gives employment to over 7 Lakh workers. Since nationalization of the industry, the government has been paying special attention towards the welfare of the coal miners by way of providing facilities like housing, water supply, children education, health care etc.

Coal Washeries.

There are nearly 20 coal washeries in India. CIS controls 14. They are Dugada I, II, Bhojdih, Lodna Monidih, Karagali, Swang, Nandau and others.

Mining and Mining Technology.

Though mining of coal dates back more than two centuries, the real spurt in coal production occurred after its internationalization. It is presently completely in the hands of the government and mining is carried on by various government run comparies like CIL (Coal India Ltd.), SCCL (Singareni Collieries Company Ltd.)

There are some captive mines controlled by TISCO, IISCO, D.VC and Bengal Emta. CIL produces 90% of India's coal.

Nearly 75% of India's coal is mined through open cast mining, which is largely mechanized. Even the underground mines are presently mechanized.

CIL had strength of 5-44 lakh employees as on 1 April, 2001 and the coal industry employs over 7 lakh workers.

India exports some quantities of coal to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Nepal, Myanmar etc. India also imports some coking coal from Canada and Australia.

(B) Petroleum

Petroleum is an inflammable mixture of oily hydro-carbons. It has complex chemical properties. It is an indispensable source of power. The word Petroleum has been derived from two Latin words; Petra which means rock and oleum means oil.

So it is rock oil. It is a strategic mineral. It is mineral oil and is also known as liquid gold. It has multiplicity of uses like domestic fuel, illuminant, and lubricant and for manufacturing a long list of products. Uses of oil are enlisted as under:

(i) Raw material.

Asphalt, coke, wax, naptha etc.

(ii) Transportation.

Aviation, Automobiles, agricultural machines, water transportation, rail transportation, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel.

(iii) Heating and Energy Production.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (L.EG.)

(iv) Petrochemicals.

Fertilizers, explosives, dyes, drugs, cosmetics, fibre, insecticides, paints, plastics, synthetic rubber etc.

(v) Others.

Lubricating oil, grease etc.

Oil enjoys certain advantages over other sources of power:

(i) It is easy to transport through underground pipes and ocean going tankers.

(ii) It emits less of smoke. This causes very less pollution in comparison to coal.

(iii) Oil is consumed up to its last drop. Thus there is no wastage. Oil is mined in the sedimentary rocks primarily and very rarely in igneous rocks. It is generally found in the undisturbed gently folded strata of rocks.

The oil bearing layers arc normally hemmed in between impervious layers which do not allow oil or gas to escape. It is believed that oil is formed as a result of slow chemical and biochemical decomposition of marine life. It is owing to this reason that most of the oil deposits are found in the young fold mountain system and continental shelves of seas and lake beds.

Mining of oil is a specialized, complicated, expensive, technical and highly scientific process. It is a hit and trial activity. The depth and life of the oil well varies from region to region.

Oil is one of the primary sources of energy in India. India produces less than 1% oil of the world. The demand of oil has multiplied in the country on account of increase in population, development of means of transport, agriculture, manufacturing industries and military preparedness.

Oil is one of the primary sources of energy in India. The total reserves of crude oil in 1995 were 80 crore tonnes. But the actual production of crude oil in 1994-95 was 32 million metric tonnes out of world total of 4,670 million metric tonnes.

Thus, India's production of 0.6 per cent of world total production of crude oil is highly insignificant. With the development of transportation, agriculture and industrialization oil requirements of the country have increased. India produces nearly 31% of its total consumption of petroleum.

Oil was first discovered at Mukum in north-east Assam in 1867. Drilling operations could not be done before 1882 due to lack of communication. Oil was first drilled at Digboi in the Lakhimpur district of Upper Assam. This oilfield covers a large area. It is the most productive oil producing field of India.

The second important oilfield is in the Cambay region of Gujarat. This oilfield yields about 3 million tonnes of oil annually. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), a public sector undertaking has been carrying out oil exploration in several parts of the country since 1956.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. and OIL (Oil India Limited) are two national oil companies and a few in private and joint sectors produce oil and gas in India. In 2000-01 production of oil in India was 32-426 MMT and in 2000-01 production of gas was 29-48 billion cubic metres.

1. Assam .

The oil bearing rock here belong to Eocene period of geological era. Oil fields are in the valleys of Nova, Dihang and Buridihing in the districts of Lakhimpur and Sibsagar. Oil is exploited in the following areas:

(i) Digboi.

Digboi Bangapung and Hansapung in Lakhimpur district are one of the oldest oil areas of Assam state. Oil wells are between 400-2000 m deep. There exists a refinery at Digboi.

(ii) Surma Valley .

Badarpur, Patharia, Masimpur have outlived their usefulness.

(iii) Brahmaputra Valley.

Naharkatia, Hungarian, Moran Rudra Sagar, Lukwa, Borholla and Amguri. This oil is sent to Barauni and Nunmati for refining.

2. Gujarat .

15360 km area extending from Surat to Rajkot. The major oil bearing districts are Vadodara, Surat, Bharuch, Kheda, Mehsana and Kutchch.

(i) Ankaleshwar:

In Bharuch district, plenty of oil and gas has struck. From here, oil is sent to Trombay and Koyali oil refineries. Vadodra, Kahnol, Ankaleshwar, Olpad, Surat, Dhruvaran, Uttaran are major oil fields.

(ii) Cambay or Lunej :

On the head of Gulf of Cambay.

(iii) kalol:

It is the northern and the western part of Ahemdabad. Sanand, Dholka, Navgoan, Kosamba, Mehisana and Anand are important oil fields.

3. Bombay High.

ONGC started drilling oil in the Bombay high structure in 1973. Production started in 1976. This region has become a major source of oil in India.

Bombay High area is in the Arabian Sea 176 km north-west of Mumbai. A rig known as Sagar Samrat exploits oil from a depth of 1416 m. Ships of foreign companies filled with latest and the most sophisticated technology belonging to Norway (Haakom Magnus), Dalmahoy of the U.K and Shenandoeh of the U.S.A are engaged in oil drilling activity.


It is in the south of Bombay High. Oil wells depth reaches 1900 m.


It is an Island situated at a distance of 45 km west of Bhavnagar.

Other areas:

During 80s, ONGC made sincere efforts to locate oil in different parts of the country.

Cauvcry, Krishna, Godavari basins responded well in this matter.

In 1987-89 oil was struck at Borbil, Deroi and Hajpin and in Assam. Gas had been found in Arunachal Pradesh with the help of remote sensing techniques, possibility of oil in the Mahanadi off shore area in Orissa is sure.

In South India, oil has been located in the off shore region of the Cauvery basin. In krishna-Godavari basin oil prospects are bright.

Surveys have also been done in Gulf of Cambay, Gulf of Kutchch, Coromandal Coast, Sunderbans and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Oil Companies.

There are five companies engaged in oil refining and marketing of oil products. These are Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Caltex Oil Refining (India) Ltd., and Assam Oil Company Ltd. Only the last one remains in the private sector.

Caltex interests were fully acquired by the Government in January, 1977 under the name of Caltex Oil Refining (India) Ltd. till it was merged into Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. in May 1978.

In addition to these, there are two public sector companies with a little degree of foreign collaboration-Cochin Refineries Ltd. and Madras Refineries Ltd. These companies are also engaged in refining of oil.

There has been a spectacular growth in oil refining sector in India. The refining capacity is almost double from 62-24 million metric tonnes per year which was at the time of beginning of the ninth plan. Presently there are 17 oil refineries in India.

Out of these 15 are PSU, 7 are owned by I.O.C, 2 by Chennai Petroleum Corporation, 1 by Bongaigaon Refineries Petrochemicals Ltd. BPL, H.PL, Kochi Refinery Ltd. and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. own one refinery each. H.P L has got two refineries.

Geography of India

At Mangalore there is one refinery in the joint sector. A privat concern Reliance Petroleum Ltd. was set up at Jamnagar (Gujarat). Total refining capacity of the Indian refineries as on 1st April, 2001 was 112-54 MMTPA.

Refineries in India

Punjab: Bhatinda under construction

Haryana Panipat

U.P. Mathura

Bihar Barauni

Assam Bongaigaon, Guwahati, Digboi, Numaligarh

West Bengal Haldia

A.P Vishakhapatnam

T.N.: Chennai

Kerala: Kochi

Karnataka Mangalore

Maharashtra: Mumbai (Trombay)

Gujarat Koyali, Jamnagar

Refineries have been proposed or under construction at Haldia (WB.), Daitari (A.P), Varanasi (U.P), Bina (H.P), Manali (T.N.), Cuddalore (T.N.), Nagapattinam (T.N.), Tuticorin (T.N.), Mangalore (Karnataka), Manjeshwar (Kerala) and Ambalamugai (Kerala).

Petroleum Products.

A large number of products are obtained from petroleum refining as light distillates, L.P Gas (motor gasoline napth) ; middle distillates (Kerosene, aviation turbine fuel, high speed diesel and light diesel oil) and others including heavy ends furnace oil, fuel oil, lubricating oil, bitumen and petroleum coke.