- The Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs informed Lok Sabha about coal bed methane extraction in India.
- At present, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is not produced from any working/ operational coal mines in the country.
- Government of India had formulated a policy in 1997 to extract Coal Bed Methane (CBM) from coal-bearing areas prior to the mining of coal.
- a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, to act in a cooperative manner for the development of CBM.
- India has the fifth largest proven coal reserves in the world and thus holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM.
- The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and all the current CBM producing blocks.
- The vast majority of the best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley.
- Though India has CBM Prognosticated Resource of 92 TCF, in-place reserves established is 10 TCF only
What is coal bed methane?
- Coal bed methane (CBM) is a form of natural gas which can be recovered from coal deposits or coal seams.
- A coal deposit is a geographical location containing mineable accumulations of coal while a coal seam is entrapment of coal in underlying rock.
How is it formed?
- The gas is formed during the natural conversion of plant material into coal, known as coalification.
- When coalification occurs, the coal becomes saturated with water and methane gas is trapped within it.
- CBM can be recovered from coal deposits and seams through drilling and extraction.
It consists predominantly of methane gas (CH4) although it can contain trace amounts of ethane (C2H6), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).
- Power Generation
- Manufacturing fertilizers and plastics.
- Transportation fuel
- Coal bed methane exploration involves pumping large volumes of water out of coal seams to reduce the hydrostatic pressure and liberate the gas.
- The produced water from coal bed methane wells has a fairly high salinity (due to dissolved sodium bicarbonate ions or chlorides) making it unsuitable for certain agricultural activities due to adverse and long-term chemical or physical effects on soil structure.
- Its main component, methane, offers up to 72 times more global warming potential (GWP) per unit mass than CO2.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB