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A Viable Alternative of the Energy in the Production of Coalbed Methane in Mozambican Coal Basins


Coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuels in the world and contributes greatly to the world energy matrix. In it can be found coalbed methane (CBM), methane gas considered as one of the viable energy sources of production in several countries such as the United States and China. In Africa, countries as Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa are investing in CBM production. The present work draws attention to the existing potential in the Mozambican coal basins, considering the geology, the properties of the coal and the potential of coalbed methane generation as a viable alternative of production. It should be noted that one of the most important coal bearing sedimentary successions in the world occurs in the Moatize-Minjova coal basin, Mozambique. In the analysis of the rank of the types of coal suitable for the production of CBM, the most recommended are the coal or bituminous and anthracite type that have high levels of CO2, high calorific value and higher concentration of gas, and can be found with this quality in the Moatize-Minjova coal basin. Exploration well drilling data collected by the Company ETA STAR Mozambique show one of the preponderant examples of the potential for CBM generation as a viable energy source of production in the country. These data are analyzed by means of specific laboratory tests, such as: physical, chemical, mineralogical, geochemical and petrographic analyzes; which facilitated the knowledge of the geology as well as the potentiality and economic viability of the deposit in order to determine the quality and volume of gas contained in the layers of coal. Thus, it is anticipated that the result of the pioneer study carried out by the Company ETA STAR Mozambique indicates that this coal basin of Moatize has qualities to generate the Coalbed Methane. It is also emphasized that the other five coal basins present in the region due to the presented geological characteristics probably have an economically feasible potential for production. Since where coal is found, the CBM is also trapped in the structures of its layers. In this way, the exploration of the MBC would be a preponderant solution to answer the problematic of the energy demand for the national consumption. In order to exploit the CBM's potential in the country, the Government of Mozambique could introduce a specific CBM policy to legally guide the research, exploration, production and consumption of methane gas contained in the coal layers Mozambican.