CBM Around The World


From humble beginnings as a coal mine degasification and safety technique developed in the USA during the 1970’s, CBM production is commercially well established in several countries. Interestingly, successful CBM production is occurring from a wide range of coal types, ages, and geologic settings. However, in all cases the keys to commercial success are favorable geologic conditions (good coal thickness, gas content/saturation, permeability); low capital and operating costs; and favorable gas markets and sales prices.

Global CBM production totals 5.8 Bcfd from 15 basins in the USA, Canada, Australia, China, and India. The USA still dominates with nearly 5 Bcfd of production and about 20 Tcf produced to date, but production there is expected to fall going forward because of resource maturity and depletion, not to mention very low gas prices. Australia may well displace the USA as the top-ranked producer, making a projected 6 Bcfd by 2020 once its LNG export plants are fully operational. CBM production in China (150 MMcfd) and India (10 MMcfd) is struggling due to more challenging geologic conditions and low well productivity. Other regions – notably Europe – have poor geologic conditions as well as high costs and have failed to commercialize.

Global Coalbed Methane Development History