Pennsylvania has a rich history of coalbed methane (CBM) development. In the 1970’s, the Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Project (MRCP), the former US Bureau of Mines (USBM) and the US Department of Energy (USDOE) developed a series of pilot methane recovery projects in Pennsylvania. The success of these projects paved the way for future projects and, over the last thirty years, interest in the economic value of CBM has attracted the oil and gas industry in the Commonwealth.
The CBM industry in Pennsylvania has seen the number of new CBM permits decrease since 2009, due to the global recession and increasing focus on the Middle Devonian Marcellus shale gas play. Yet commercial quantities of CBM are still being produced in eight counties of the southern and southwestern main bituminous coal field in the US state.
Annual production data compiled for 2012 reveals that CBM reached 16 billion ft3. This could heat about 240,000 households for a year. With such potential offered from the unconventional gas, therefore, there is clear reason to continue developing CBM projects – not simply in Pennsylvania but indeed across the US.
In a reconnaissance study of CBM, the Pennsylvania Geological Survey obtained cores from various coalbeds throughout Pennsylvania. In this report, the author details the results of this study and explains why CBM, an energy source that rivals conventional natural gas in composition and heating value, continues to make a valuable contribution to the US domestic energy mix on both state and national levels.
Written by Antonette Markowski
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/cbm/18092014/coalbed-methane-in-pennsylvania-cbm010/