Energy Resources in India – Indian Geography

Energy is an essential input for improving the quality of life. The socio-economic development of a country is largely dependent upon the availability of energy resources. Energy Resources can be classified into two categories: Conventional energy resources and Non-Conventional resources of energy.

Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and electricity are the conventional energy source, whereas wind, solar, tidal, and biogas energy are non-conventional resources of energy. The conventional energy resources are limited, non-renewable, exhaustible, and cause pollution. On the other hand, non-conventional resources are renewable, inexhaustible, and pollution-free.

Energy resources can also categorize as Commercial and Non-Commercial energy resources. Mineral oil, coal, natural gas, hydro-power, solar energy, nuclear power are the commercial resources of energy. Non-commercial sources of energy are fuelwood, charcoal, animal waste, etc. Commercial energy resources play a vital role in the economic development of the country. The important commercial resources of energy are as follow:


Coal is an important energy source in the country. About 54% of the total electricity generation capacity in the country is coal-based. Coal is also converted into other forms of energy. In India, coal can be classified as Gondwana coal and Tertiary coal.

Gondwana coal belongs to the Carboniferous period about 579 million years to 250 million years back. About 98% of the total coal deposits present in India belong to the Gondwana period. This Gondwana coal mainly contains carbon content that varies between 60% to 90%. Tertiary coal belongs to the Oligocene period about 15 to 60 million years back. Tertiary coal is an inferior type of coal and contributes only about 2% of the total coal production.

Coal can also be divided into four types: Peat, Lignite, Bituminous, and Anthracite. Peat is the most inferior quality of coal, having less than 40% of the Carbon content. Because of the high percentage of moisture contained in peat, it gives more smoke. Lignite, also known as Brown coal, is the lowest quality of coal but superior to peat. Lignite contains about 40% to 60% of carbon content.

Bituminous, also called Black coal, is dense, compact, and black in color. Bituminous coal contains about 60% to 80% of carbon content. Anthracite coal is the higher quality of coal. It has very little proportion of moisture and contains more than 80% of the carbon content.

About 80% of the coal deposits found in India are mainly of Bituminous type. Bituminous coal is used in making gas coal, steam coal, and coke (coking coal). Coke is further used in the iron and steel industry.

The largest coalfield in the country is Jharia Coalfield in Jharkhand, followed by Raniganj coalfield in West Bengal and Talcher coalfield in Odisha. The other coal-producing States include Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Assam, and Jammu & Kashmir.

Petroleum / Mineral Oil

Petroleum is another important fuel resource of energy, which remains high in demand for accelerating economic development. Crude petroleum is found mainly in sedimentary rocks of marine origin. However, all sedimentary rocks do not contain mineral oil. It is formed by the decomposition of marine organisms, plants, vegetal matter due to chemical processes under heat and pressure. The process of its formation started in the tertiary period. Over the years, the marine life buried under the accumulated sediments of silt undergoes chemical changes due to the action of heat and pressure and resulted in the formation of mineral oil.

Petroleum is also called the Liquid Gold or Oil King because of its diversified uses. It is used mainly as a lubricant and raw material in various chemical and automobile industries. It is also used for producing petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, synthetic fiber, synthetic rubber, pigments, detergents, gasoline, dyes, printing ink, paints, cosmetics, lubricant oils, wax, etc.

Oil and Natural Gas Commission was set up in 1956 for systematic oil exploration and production. The important oilfield of the country includes Digboi Oilfield in Assam, Mumbai High Oilfield in Maharashtra, Ankleshwar Oilfield.

Natural Gas

Natural gas mainly occurs in association with mineral oil. It is colorless, highly flammable, and contains methane. It is used as a raw material in petrochemical industries, producing chemical fertilizers, power generation, vehicle fuel, cooking, etc. Natural gas exploration in India is being done by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission. In 1984, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), the Gas Authority of India Limited, was set up to transport and develop the market for natural gas.

The Natural gas reserves are mainly situated along with the petroleum reserves. Its reserves are also found along the eastern coast of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu and offshore wells in Gujarat, Maharashtra. It also occurs in Tripura, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. Mumbai High Oilfield and Bassein Oilfield are the largest natural gas reserves.

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