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Coalbed Methane Extraction

AUTHOR: Robert M. Davidson, Lesley Sloss and Lee B. Clarke
DATE: January 1995

This report reviews the extraction of methane from coalbeds as a resource in its own right and not as a mining hazard, emission or by-product. The properties of coal which make coal seams effective methane reservoirs are considered first. The methods by which coalbed methane resources can be estimated are then outlined followed by an inventory of the world's major coalbed methane resources and reserves. The technology of producing coalbed methane has mainly been developed in the USA and the main methods of completing and stimulating wells are described. Although fairly benign environmentally, there can be problems concerned with the treatment and disposal of the water co-produced with the methane. Despite progress in the technology of coalbed methane production, unexciting economics and legal problems, principally concerning ownership, have acted as constraints on its development.