Nov. 29, 2019

The Ministry of Coal has asked the state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years.


  • What is coalbed methane (CBM)?
    • CBM is extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas.

    • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.

  • What are the uses of CBM?
    • CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.

    • CBM can be used for power generation, as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel, as feedstock for fertilisers, industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.

  • Indian scenario:
    • According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic metres (BCM).

    • The Damodar Koel valley and Son valley are prospective areas for CBM development.

    • According to the Directorate, CBM production in March 2015 was around 0.77 MMSCMD from 5 CBM blocks.

    • In 2018, the Union Cabinet relaxed the rules for Coal India Limited (CIL) to extract natural gas lying below coal seams to boost production.