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COAL BED METHANE

By: Dr. Rohit Verma

Coalbed Methane (CBM) - Methane contained in coal seams. Often referred to as virgin coalbed methane, or coal seam gas.

Coalmine Methane (CMM) - CBM that is released from the coal seams during coal mining.

Abandoned Mine Methane (AMM) - Methane that continues to be released from closed and sealed mines. May also be referred to as coal mine methane because the

liberated methane is associated with past coal mining

activity.

COAL BED METHANE

CBM IS NATURAL GAS GENERATED DURING

COALIFICATION PROCESS AND STORED IN COAL

SEAMS IN THE ADSORBED STATE ON THE INTERNAL SURFACES OF COAL MATRIX.

THE

ABILITY OF COAL TO STORE GAS IS

A

FUNCTION OF RANK AND DEPTH OF BURIAL.

COAL SERVES AS BOTH THE SOURCE AS WELL AS THE RESERVOIR ROCK FOR CBM AND CAN HOLD FIVE TO SIX TIMES THE AMOUNT OF GAS STORED IN A CONVENTIONAL SAND RESERVOIR OF COMPARABLE SIZE.

THE PRODUCTION OF CBM IS RELATED TO PERMEABILITY & TAKES PLACE ON DEPRESSURISATION OF COAL BEDS THROUGH DEWATERING.

Coalbed methane is generated during coalification process which gets adsorbed on coal at higher pressure.

It is a mining hazard. Presence of CBM in underground mine not only makes mining works difficult and risky, but also makes it costly.

Even, its ventilation to atmosphere adds green house gas causing global warming.

CBM is a remarkably clean fuel if utilized efficiently. CBM is a clean gas having heating value of approximately 8500 KCal/kg compared to 9000 KCal/kg of natural gas.

Intrinsic Properties of Coal Affecting Gas Production

Porosity: The porosity of coal bed reservoirs is usually very small, ranging from 0.1 to 10%.

Adsorption capacity : Volume of gas adsorbed per unit mass of coal. The range is usually between 100 to 800 SCF/ton.

Fracture permeability: Acts as the major channel for the gas to flow. Higher the permeability, higher is the gas production.

Thickness of formation and initial reservoir pressure

Extraction of CBM To extract the gas, a steel-encased hole is drilled into the coal seam (1001500 meters below ground).

As the pressure within the coal seam declines due to natural production or the pumping of water from the coal bed, both gas and 'produced water' come to the

surface through tubing.

Then the gas is sent to a compressor station and into natural gas pipelines.

The water typically contains dissolved solids such as sodium bicarbonate and chloride.

Vertical Drilling Well

IN-SEAM HORIZONTAL CBM WELL DRILLING IN

SOHAGPUR BLOCKS

Drilling in seam - directional well from a distance of 1000 m.

CBM In-seam drilling

CBM Gas Burning Along Fractured Zone,

Nonia Nalla, Asansol, Raniganj Coalfield Nalla,

CBM POLICY & BLOCKS IN INDIA

Commercial exploitation of CBM began in 1995 when one block was awarded to a foreign operator.

By 2001, the country started auctioning CBM assets, armed with an elaborate policy.

Compared to the oil and gas sector, the CBM policy is relatively more investor-friendly, both in fiscal terms as well as contractual obligations.

Investors’ interest was most pronounced in the third round of bidding (2006), when 54 bids were received

for 10 blocks.

CBM POLICY & BLOCKS IN INDIA

CBM Policy formulated in 1997

Attractive Fiscal & Contractual Terms

First offer of Blocks under Round-I in 2001

So far, 4 rounds of bidding completed

and 33

CBM blocks covering 17,000 km awarded but only four blocks have come to production so far. The

DGH offered 8 blocks

in

the

first round,

9

in

the

second round, 10 fourth round.

in the

third round and 10

in the

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons will soon offer seven coal bed methane blocks

nder the fifth ro nd of

GAS RESOURCE BASE

Prognosticated Gas Resources : 400 TCF (In 15 Basin)

CBM Gas Resources Resources Blocks)

Total Gas Resources pp

: 60 TCF (For 33

: 450 TCF (Approx)

Gas Reserves Established (As on 01.08.2010) - From Hydrocarbon Gas Resources : 104 TCF

- From CBM Gas Resources

: 8.4 TCF

Global Reserves: The largest CBM resource bases lie in the former Soviet Union, Canada, China, Australia and the United States, however, much of the potential remains untapped. In 2006 it was estimated that of global resources totaling 143 trillion cubic meters, only 1 trillion cubic metres was actually recovered from reserves. This is due to a lack of incentive in some countries particularly in parts of the former Soviet Union where conventional natural gas is abundant. In the USA today coalbed methane (CBM) represents between two and three per cent of all gas production. Exploitation in Canada has been somewhat slower than in the US, but is expected to increase with the development

of new exploration and extraction technologies.

Global CBM Activities

Major coal fields and CBM blocks in India

Indian Reserves

The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons of India estimates that deposits in major coal fields (in twelve states of India covering an area of 35,400 km2) contain approximately 4.6 TCM of CBM.

Coal in these basins ranges from high volatile to low-volatile bituminous with high ash content (10 to 40 percent), and its gas content is between 3-16 m 3 /ton depending on the rank of the coal, depth of burial, and geotectonic settings of the

basins as estimated by the CMPDI. In the Jharia Coalfield which is considered to be the most prospective area, the gas content is estimated to be between

7.3 and 23.8 m 3 per ton of coal within the depth range of 150m to 1200 m. Analysis indicates every 100-m increase in

depth is associated with a 1.3 m 3 increase of methane content.

STATEWISE DISTRIBUTION OF CBM BLOCKS

With five exploration blocks, Essar is the biggest firm exploring CBM in India having

prospective resources of 7.6 trillion cubic feet of

CBM gas.

RIL holds 3.6 trillion cubic feet of gas in its CBM blocks.

Environmental Impacts

CBM production entails both environmental benefits

and concerns. Air quality benefits arise from (1) Substituting clean-burning methane for dirtier

fuels

(2) the burning, rather than venting into the atmosphere, of coal bed methane released as a result

of coal mining activities (methane is 21 times more

potent a greenhouse gas than is CO2).

However, disposal of the large volumes of water

that are produced from CBM wells, in a way that is environmentally acceptable and yet

economically feasible, is a concern.

, While the regulator announces a huge prognostic reserve of 4.6 trillion cubic m of methane gas in the countrys vast coal fields, insiders in the CBM exploration sector allege a serious mismatch between such estimates and the reality. OVERESTIMATION While the DGH Web site suggests that only three blocks have been relinquished till May 2010, unofficial estimates point out that operators of at least one-third of the CBM blocks (out of 33) have either relinquished their interests, or have approached the regulator to relinquish interests, till date. Insiders say operators in seven out of eight blocks awarded in the second round of bidding and four out of 10 blocks in the much- hyped third round (2006) have reportedly failed to establish viable reserves and preferred to forgo assets, after completion of phase-1 of the work programme. The general observation is that India’s CBM potential is largely restricted to eight blocks, three of which were awarded on nomination basis, and the rest in the first round of bidding.