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Scott, Andrew R.1, Donna F. Balin2 
(1) Altuda Energy Corporation, San Antonio, TX 
(2) Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

ABSTRACT: Preliminary Assessment of Worldwide Coalbed Methane Resources

Coalbed methane (CBM) represents an important part of the natural gas supply in the United States, and the exploration for coal gas has expanded to many countries worldwide. The rate of CBM resource development appears to be highly variable due to local economic factors, government energy priorities and policies. However, the international development of CBM resources will increase over the next decade with the implementation of new technologies. Accurate determination of international CBM resources is difficult because of a number of factors including: (1) coal resource estimates are often based only upon mineable coal and ignore deeper coal resources that may contain methane; (2) absence of or limited data pertaining to coal resources in many countries; (3) variable depth limits set on coal resource assessments among countries; and (4) absence of or limited gas content data in many parts of the world. A comprehensive evaluation of existing international coal and coalbed methane resource data was performed to provide a preliminary estimate of international coal and coalbed methane resources. Preliminary worldwide CBM resources are estimated to range between 5,800 and 24,215 Tcf. The largest potential resources, which also have the largest degree of uncertainty, are in the former Soviet Union with 4,000 to 16,116 Tcf. North America’s resources range between 951 to 4,383 Tcf, whereas South America and Europe range from 15 to 32 Tcf and 161 and 269 Tcf, respectively. Africa ranges between 27 and 55 Tcf; the Middle East has no CBM resources. CBM resources of the Asia Pacific region, which includes The People’s Republic of China, ranges from 646 to 3,360 Tcf.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.