Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Estimating Coal Bed Methane Volume And Some Other Energy News

Via I came across this short tutorial on estimating available coal bed methane. Gas is adsorbed in the micro-pores within the coal with smaller amounts available as free gas in fractures. The gas content available is estimated using a Langmuir isotherm:

Source: Baker Hughes Reservoir Blog

Short but effective presentation I thought.

In other energy news, India is ready to open up bidding for exploration of shale gas in six basins, namely Cambay, Assam-Arakan, Gondawana, KG onshore, Cauvery onshore and the Indo Gangetic basin by end of 2013. Early estimates suggest that four of these basins, Cambay, KG onshore, Cauvery and part of the Gondwana (Damodar valley basin) contain up to 63 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas. These numbers are sure to be modified as these and other basins are probed in more detail.

Finally, Amol Sharma at India Real Time takes a closer look at "Coalgate", a controversy over the Indian government allocating coal mining blocks to companies instead of auctioning them in an open bidding process. The loss to the exchequer according to the Comptroller and Auditor General calculation is about $200 billion.

What all the media hype though has missed is that the report has a lot to say about the shortfall in coal production:

The lion’s share of the report doesn’t deal with any of the issues above that have caused such an uproar, but rather India’s coal production shortfall. There’s plenty of blame for Coal India, which produces 81% of the coal in the country and is a lifeline for power generation firms. Between March 2008 and March 2011, Coal India failed to supply 54 million tons of coal it had promised companies. The report also asks why the private companies that have been “captive mines” – the so-called windfall gainers – have been so slow to get going with production. It says only 28 captive coal blocks are producing out of 194 allocated by the government. It is fair to ask why this is the case. Are there delays in getting government clearances, or are companies being inefficient?

Indian potential coal reserves are about 350 billion tons, making it the fourth largest reserves in the world, but according to coal market consultants Wood McKenzie, the future marketable reserve i.e. marketable production by 2030 is just 18 billion tons. That estimate might reflect a complex mix of conditions such as a lack of confidence in India sorting out issues related to regulatory clearances and land acquisition problems along with shortage in skilled manpower and advanced technology.  India has to import coal to meet shortfalls in domestic supply.

The Economic Times reports that coal imports could increase substantially in the future from 80 million tons per year in 2011 to 400 million tons per year by 2030, especially if domestic prices are raised to be on par with international prices.  Australia and Indonesia are major suppliers of coal to India.

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