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Tight oil

Date: 20 November 2021 Tags: Geography & Environment


Cairn Oil & Gas and Halliburton will partner together in exploration of shale reserves in Lower Barmer Hill formation of Western Rajasthan.



  • Shale oil is also known as ‘Tight Oil’ as it is found in smaller and deeper reserves than conventional oil reserves.

  • The recovery of shale reserves require fractures in oil and gas rich shale for obtaining the hydrocarbons through a process called hydraulic fracking.


Shale oil industry

  • US and Russia are pioneers of shale extraction industry. They are one of the largest producers of shale oil.

  • The shale oil has single-handedly made US a net-exporter of oil rather than a net importer few years back.

  • However, the industry faces challenges from series of litigation from citizens living in the adjoining areas for polluting their ground water.


Shale oil exploration in India

  • Currently, large-scale commercial exploration of shale oil does not exist in India. ONGC had started exploration in 2013 but has had limited success.

  • Studies have shown that India has some potential shale oil reserves in Gulf of Cambay and Krishna-Godavari Basin.

  • The exploration of several blocks indicated that the flow of oil did not indicate commercial viability of extraction.



  • Shale oil exploration requires large amounts of water for fracking. There are also issues of groundwater contamination.

  • The greenhouse gas emission during the extraction process is also very high. There are also disturbances in ground stability during fracking process.

  • The obtained crude shale oil is full of impurities. The refining process is more costly and time consuming in comparison to conventional crude.



  • Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing is a process in which Earth's interior rocks are opened and widened by injecting water, chemicals, and sand at high pressure.

  • The process allows reaching deposits of shale oil that are usually located in tight and non-porous underground rocks.

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