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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 966

Last Page: 966

Title: Methane from Coal Beds--an Exploration Approach: ABSTRACT

Author(s): David W. Oldham, D. Keith Murray

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Vast amounts of methane are trapped in much of the unmined and unminable coal in the United States. This virtually untapped unconventional source of clean energy should become economically viable within the next few years. Consequently, it should be viewed as an important new exploration frontier.

An approach to coal-bed methane exploration involves a combination of coal and conventional gas exploration strategies. Because coal beds are both the source and the reservoir of the gas formed during the coalification process, the subsurface extents of the coal beds define the geologic dimensions of the resources of coal-bed methane. The amount of producible methane in a given coal bed is highly variable, being a function of the depth of burial, the rank of the coal, the degree of fracturing, and the permeability of the contiguous strata. Consequently, the successful search for producible quantities of coal-bed methane requires an understanding of the depositional and diagenetic history of coal.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists