Prashant Modi began his association with Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd. (GEECL) in 1996. In 2005 the business was listed on the London Stock Exchange. This process was overseen by Mr Modi. The company’s GDRs were listed in the Alternative Investments part of the Stock Exchange in 2010.
Mr Modi has an established financial background, and a proven interest in new business ideas and ventures. After graduating at Boston University, with a degree in Business Administration, he attended courses at the reputed Harvard Business School. Prashant Modi is currently the President of GEECL and the Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for overseeing operations, and supports the promotion of the business.
Prashant Modi Meets with Indian Oil
In 2007, the corporation began working on refining methods of extracting Coal Bed Methane, for use as fuel. When the supply operation started, only two industrial businesses were supplied with the gas. The first customers were two local manufacturing plants. An agreement was signed later that year, with Indian Oil. This opened up new opportunities for business, and helped to shape the future of the corporation. Firstly, Indian Oil agreed to allow Natural Gas to be sold from several Bengal petrol stations. Secondly, it was agreed that Indian Oil would aid GEECL in setting up a distribution network of CBM.
CBM is extracted from Coal Seams in West Bengal. When new blocks become available at auction in this coal rich area, Modi has been quick to show interest in bidding on them. Initially, there was only one site in Bengal producing CBM. By July of 2009, there were 30 CBM wells up and running. GEECL were the first corporation on Indian soil, to investigate how to harvest, market, and distribute CBM. The company plans to have as many as 380 wells operational in Western Bengal in future.
When the farming operation began, the processes involved in extracting the CBM posed technical challenges. Over the years, the process has been refined and is now more efficient. The result was an extensive learning process. The expertise gained by the corporation throughout the learning experience, has been made into a book.
GEECL will be entering into a new partnership, Prashant Modi has announced, with Indian Oil Corporation. This decision has been made so that GEECL will be able to convert several of the existing petrol pumps, located on various Indian highways, to compressed natural gas stations.
Prashant Modi revealed his company’s plan to extend its current pipeline to the area of Calcutta, so as to keep up with the customer demand for compressed natural gas. GEECL were successful in their commissioning of the first natural gas pipeline, which now extends from the gas gathering station, to twelve kilometres away, at its central gathering station. This is the very first pipeline dedicated to distributing coal bed methane to businesses in India and will be a part of a fully integrated network which will consist of drilling wells, producing coal bed methane, compressing the gas and transporting it to GEECL customers around the Asansol city centre area.
The twelve kilometre pipeline is now catering to the energy requirements of factories and plants around the Asansol area, and is also able to feed into other pipelines which connect to eastern Durgapur and western Kulti. Speaking of this, the president of GEECL, Prashant Modi expressed his ‘pride and delight’ at the way in which the CBM pipeline had developed. It is, Modi said, a significant milestone in the construction of compressed natural gas pipelines.
Although only the twelve kilometre gas pipeline is currently operational, the company have laid down the beginnings of further pipelines which span more than thirty kilometres, and will be able to connect over twenty wells to the central gas gathering station. On top of this, Prashant Modi explained, GEECL has also laid down steel ten kilometres of pipeline in Durgapur, and has now received permission from the National Highways Authority of India to lay pipes along fifty seven kilometres of coastline in the west of the country. Once completed and operational, these other pipelines will mean that almost every region in India will be able to easily access compressed natural gas and benefit from this affordable and clean source of fuel.
GEECL (Great Eastern Energy Corporation) has announced its new plans to invest Rs 3000 Crore in the exploration and distribution of CBM in 2013. Prashant Modi, who serves as GEECL’s chief executive, has said that they would be drilling another 80 wells on the block in Asansol, where they currently operate 23 wells. Situated approximately 200km from Kolkata, the Asansol block has more than 2 trillion cubic feet of methane gas, making it commercial viable for at least another two decades.
Prashant Modi also stated that the demand within the local industrial area is high enough to warrant the extra wells, with factories, power plants and steel plants already using GEECL’s CBM to run their operations. CBM, Modi says, will eventually replace other conventional sources of fuel such as coal and oil. The company intends to set up stations for the compressed natural gas it has extracted from the coal seams, so that vehicles around Durgapur, Barakar and Asansol can be fuelled by gas developed by GEECL. Eventually, Prashant Modi explains, they will extend these stations to Kolkata as well.
GEECL has been listed on the Alternative Investment Market, a section of the London Stock Exchange for many years now, and to fund the setting up of these stations, will be taking out a loan of Rs 350 Crore from the bank and using Rs 200 Crore of its equity. The remaining money required, Prashant Modi says, will be coming from sales.
GEECL first began to consider the idea of coal bed methane exploration in 1992, when it realised that it could capitalise on the enormous coal reserves around India and simultaneously reduce the amount of methane emissions into the atmosphere. CBM exploration and production had proven to be hugely popular in the US and Australia at the time, and GEECL made the decision to use the same technology these countries had in a bid to begin CBM production in India. According to Prashant Modi, today GEECL is the only Indian company to have successfully produced CBM on a large scale.