NEW DELHI, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The discovery of shale gas brings "new hopes" to India's ability to meet its domestic energy needs, a state-owned oil and gas company announced.
India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd. announced an "exploration landmark" with the discovery of shale gas near West Bengal.
"Though the well is still under assessment, the breakthrough is significant as India is the first Asian country where gas was discovered from shale outside U.S. and Canada," the company said in a statement.
The abundance of shale gas and other forms of so-called unconventional gas discovered in the United States prompted a global rush to explore for the new resource.
The International Energy Agency said Australia is taking the lead in the push toward unconventional gas, though China, India and Indonesia are close behind. European companies are taking preliminary steps to unlock unconventional gas as are other regions.
ONGC said successful pilot testing of the first shale gas in the region would put "India on the shale gas map of the world."
"It has opened up new hopes for meeting our energy needs," the company added in its statement.