Coal India to speed up coal bed methane exploration

The government has asked mining giant Coal India to take up exploration of coal bed methane (CBM) in the country expeditiously, with an aim to ramp up its output to at least 5 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) from less than 1 mmscmd now.

Recently, Cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha took a review of CBM production in the country. It was brought to his notice that Coal India (CIL) has not made any progress despite the Cabinet allowing the PSU miner to go-ahead with CBM mining in December 2013, sources told FE.

Post the order from highest authority in government, the coal ministry would discuss the strategy to take out CBM from its Coal India’s block with petroleum ministry and upstream regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). On a later stage, ONGC may also be roped in to collaborate with Coal India to mine CBM, said the sources.

In December 2013, then UPA’s Cabinet allowed Coal India and other state-run firms to also exploit CBM, while taking out coal. But there was no movement on ground. The state-run firms are holding mines in joint venture with private companies and the latter did not have rights to explore CBM

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