International Conference on Unconventional Sources of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Management(ICUSFFCM-2011)

The Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI) organized an International Conference on Unconventional Sources of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Management in association with the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), USA over the 21st and 22nd of February, 2011. Sixty six papers were presented at the conference. The state-of-art understanding and emerging opportunities to optimize extraction and use of such fuels as coal bed methane, gas hydrates oil shale, shale and tight gas were presented. Enhanced recovery and environmental impacts including carbon markets were the cross cutting themes. Experts from such institutes of repute as the Oil & Natural Gas Commission, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, National Geophysical Research Institute, Indian School of Mines, Central Fuel Research Institute, the Colorado School of Mines and the NTNU – Norway, deliberated on the aspects stated. The technical framework for these deliberations was initially developed by GERMI and the Colorado School of Mines. Detailed interactions with experts from several institutions represented in the technical and conference advisory committees of the conference further strengthened the framework.

The Conference was inaugurated by Mr. D.J. Pandian, IAS, Principal Secretary, Energy and Petrochemicals Department, Government of Gujarat. He highlighted the need for an integrated approach to tackle issues of energy security and sustainability to reduce impacts of vagaries of international markets and the imperatives of environmental efficiency to reduce costs of remediation. Mr Tapan Ray IAS, Managing Director, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited presided over the launch of the event. His special emphasis was on the urgent need to improve resilience of the energy sector through focused value added technical services that will foster locally adapted solutions. This had to be driven by clear scientific assessments, supported by relevant institutional and market mechanisms.

The Guest of Honor and keynote speaker was Padmashri Dr. Harsh K. Gupta (President Geological Society of India and Formerly Director, National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad) highlighted the need to tackle core technical and related environmental issues through a targeted preventive and remediation approach. This was essential to reduce externalities and establish the relevance of such technical advances for the benefit of communities. Prof Dag Numeddal, Director, Colorado Energy Research Institute and Padmashri Dr VP Dimri spoke about the relevance of these areas for sustainable management of resources and the urgent need to create cadres of technically sound professionals to meet the growing demands for energy. They also cautioned that these initiatives should however not lose sight of the environmental and sustainability dimensions.

Empirical information regarding the physical and chemical characteristics essential for successful extraction was also presented at the conference. The learnings that emerged from this conference are important for technology and skill up-gradation through industry centered initiatives and sustain development. These insights are also valuable for decision makers in the energy sector because of the emerging implications of a focused framework of economic and environmental management through the imperatives of the 12th five-year plan and the growing impacts of markets around the world. That, alternatives will play an important role cannot be overemphasized; especially when the twin benefits of markets and environmental sustainability have to be ensured. GERMI thanks for the Colorado School of Mines, Golden Colorado for its enthusiastic collaboration. Padmashri Dr VP Dimri and Dr Baleshwar Kumar are also gratefully acknowledged for their prime mover roles and fostering the entire initiative.