--> ABSTRACT: Permo-Carboniferous Coal: A Major Target for Coalbed Methane Exploration in China, by D. Keith Murray; #91019 (1996)

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Permo-Carboniferous Coal: A Major Target for Coalbed Methane Exploration in China

D. Keith Murray

The People's Republic of China is the largest producer of coal in the world, the most populous country, and is experiencing a significant growth in GNP. Three-fourths of China's energy requirements are met by burning coal. At least 80 percent of the produced coal is Permo- Carboniferous, ranging in rank from bituminous to anthracite ("hardcoal"), and is mined from underground facilities that typically are very gas-prone.

The coal resources of China, estimated at 7.7 to 12.1 trillion tons, are among the largest in the world. Much of this in-place resource consists of Permo-Carboniferous hardcoal. The resource base of coalbed methane (CBM) in China, variously estimated at 1,000 to 2,800 Tcf, may be the world's largest. A significant portion of this valuable energy source is believed to be contained in Permo-Carboniferous coals.

The government of China is seeking international technology and investment to develop and utilize CBM, which is expected to improve the nation's economy, increase mine safety, and reduce the wasteful and polluting emissions of methane from coal mines.

In particular, the government is emphasizing development of CBM in the North China Basin region, the locale of the most abundant and highest rank Permo-Carboniferous coals. An encouraging aspect of cooperative Sino-American efforts is the recent discovery of significant flows of methane from permeable anthracite reservoirs in Henan and Shanxi Provinces. These two discoveries are believed to be the first in the world from anthracites.

AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California