What are the benefits of using Coal Bed Methane (CBM)? Give an account of CBM resources in India.

What are the benefits of using Coal Bed Methane (CBM)? Give an account of CBM resources in India.


  • Briefly discuss about Coal Bed Methane in introduction.
  • Give the advantages of CBM.
  • Then discuss about their distribution in India and present situation.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

Coal Bed methane is natural gas that is stored (absorbed) in deeply buried coal seams. It is pipeline-quality gas that requires no or minimal processing prior to sale. The presence of methane is well known from its occurrence in the coal mining industry, particularly underground mining where it can present serious safety risks. This unconventional source of natural gas is now considered as an alternative source for augmenting India’s energy resources.

Benefits of using Coal Bed Methane:

  • Industrial use– By using CBM gas as an industrial fuel, the profile of small-scale industries like in the Raniganj region of West Bengal has been radically transformed.
  • Efficiency- The thermal output and quality of CBM were far superior to alternative fuels.
  • Environment friendly– CBM is considered as the environment friendly gas as it emits only carbon dioxide and water on combustion.
  • Safer to extract– As extraction of CBM is done prior to coal mining activities, it makes mining activities safer by degassing the coal seams.
  • Gas based economy– The increasing use of natural gas as a fuel by SMEs will be instrumental in augmenting the overall national goal of developing a gas-based economy. Thus extraction of CBM would help in increasing the domestic gas production.

Distribution of CBM in India:

  • According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, India has the fifth-largest proven coal reserves in the world and, thus holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM.
  • The potential CBM resources in the country are about 2600 Billion Cubic Metres in 12 coal bearing states of India.
  • The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and the current CBM producing blocks. Some of best prospective areas for CBM development are situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley.
  • Though 33 blocks were awarded for extraction so far covering 64 percent of the total available coal bearing areas in 12 states, CBM is currently being produced in only four blocks, in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.

As the demand of energy will continue to rise in future in India, this is the right time to boost production capacities and supplies across all the CBM-rich regions of the nation. The government is targeting CBM’s contribution of five per cent of national gas production (from 1.78 percent in 2016-17). To this end, the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) is a good move as it encourages CBM extraction by offering a single-licence for exploration and production for all forms of hydrocarbons, as well as giving marketing and pricing freedom.

Subjects : Geography – Resources