China's first large-scale thin coalbed methane project begins operation

2023-08-16 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

CNOOC's booth is seen during an expo in Beijing. (KUANG DA/FOR CHINA DAILY)

The first large-scale thin coalbed methane project in China was put into operation on Wednesday, a new breakthrough in this sector for the country, said its operator China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Located in Shanxi province, the Panhe project currently has a cumulative production of 180 million cubic meters since it was put into trial operation at the end of 2020. It provides an important theoretical basis for the efficient development and utilization of thin coalbed methane, it said.

Coalbed methane refers to the unconventional natural gas that is associated with coal and stored in coal seams. Developing and utilizing coalbed methane not only ensures coal mining safety, but also provides a new source of clean energy, said the company.

Currently, the commercial-scale development of coalbed methane in China is mainly in Qinshui Basin and the Ordos Basin. However, gas production has significantly decreased after years of development. China has been stepping up thin coalbed methane development in recent years to ensure gas supply.

According to CNOOC, thin coal seams generally refer to coal seams with a thickness of less than 1.3 meters that are mined underground. It accounts for 20 percent of the total recoverable coal reserves, or around 350 billion tons, it said.

CNOOC said it would continue strengthening technological innovation and research efforts to explore new technologies for the efficient development of coalbed methane in China, so as to ensure sufficient gas supply in the country.


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