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Geologic Assessment of Coal Bed Methane Potential in India
Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is recently discovered, non-conventional and environment friendly source of energy. U.S.A. is pioneer in exploitation of Coal Bed Methane. Encouraged with this, other countries rich in coal deposits also have started activity for development of coal bed methane, including India.
India has vast coal & lignite resources of 292 billion tonnes upto 1200 m. depth or more. Out of this, 150 billion tonnes occurring beyond mineable depths of greater than 300 m., are considered suitable for exploitation of coal bed methane gas.
Various agencies have carried out the resource estimation of coal bed methane in India, which are reported to about 850 billion cubic metres; thereby offering enormous potential for its development.
Potential areas for coal bed methane are confined to Permian (Lower Gondwana) bituminous coals in Damodar valley towards east and Sone valley in the middle, which are contiguous to coal mining areas and Tertiary lignito-bituminous coals in Sobhasan-Kalol area towards west, which are associated with the petroliferous beds in Cambay basin.
Preliminary studies of Indian coals indicate gas saturated seams with development of natural cleats/fractures and favourable permeability/flow characteristics, unlike some European/Australian coals which have given adverse results. Drilling of R&D wells in North Gujarat and Exploratory Test well in West Bengal, have given encouraging results for coal bed methane.
Based on the present geologic assessment, the recoverable coal bed methane reserves in the aforesaid areas have been estimated to 290 billion cubic metres with production potential of 53 million cubic metres per day of gas for 15 years.
Owing to the inherent risks associated with this new technology, phasewise exploration and development work for establishment of CBM industry in India can be taken up in identified potential areas.
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