Active Biogenesis of Methane in Ft. Union Coals of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin
The Powder River Basin, Tertiary Ft. Union coalbed methane gas is a classic example of gas formed through secondary biogenesis. In order to better scientifically understand the evolution of this process, numerous Powder River Basin coal cores were carefully obtained to limit exposure to air during the course of their extraction and examination. These coal samples were examined for their indigenous anaerobic microbial populations and their ability to support methanogenesis. Rates of active methanogenesis were detected in nearly all of the tested coals. Conditions were identified that stimulated or inhibited this microbial methane production. Extrapolated results suggest that a huge potential bioreservoir for natural gas production exists in the Powder River Basin coals.