The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has relaxed rules for state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) for extraction of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) lying below coal seams in its blocks in bid to quickly boost production. Till now, CIL had to apply to oil ministry for a licence to extract coal-bed methane (CBM) from its coal blocks.
CCEA has approved amending clause 3(xiii) of 2015 notification issued by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) under Section 12 of Oil Fields (Regulation and Development) Act (ORD Act), 1948. The decision is in line with the Government’s initiatives of ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
The amendment is granted under Petroleum & Natural Gas Rules 1959 (PNG Rules, 1959) to CIL and its subsidiaries for not applying for grant of license and lease under PNG Rules, 1959 for extraction of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) under their coal bearing areas.
It will expedite the exploration and exploitation of CBM, enhance availability of natural gas and reduce gap in demand and supply of natural gas. The increased development activities for exploration and exploitation of CBM gas reserves will generate economic activities, thus create employment opportunities.
Coal Bed Methane (CBM)
CBM is generic term used for gas that is found in adsorbed state in coal. It is natural gas found in coal seams. It mainly consists of Methane (CH4) with minor amounts of nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and heavier hydrocarbons like ethane (C2H6). It is clean source of energy. During the initial years of mining, CBM was vented out and wasted into the atmosphere as it was considered as serious safety hazard while conducting coal mining operations. However, later with advancement of technology it was possible to extract CBM, a precious energy resource and an unconventional form of natural gas.
Advantages of CBM as a fuel
It is environmentally safe and clean fuel which on combustion emits only carbon dioxide and water. It is not only considered as an efficient fuel but also reduces emission of greenhouse gas from coal mining. Its extraction prior to coal mining activities makes mining activities safer by degassing the coal seams.