China Leads the Region’s Anthracite, Bituminous, Sub-bituminous and Lignite Coal Reserves with a 43.1% Share in Asia

Date: 2015-05-18

““Coal Seam Gas (CSG/CBM) in Asia, 2011 – Market Analysis, Investment Scenario, Competitive Landscape and Production Forecasts to 2015”, is the latest report from industry analysis specialists, offering comprehensive information on the Asian Coal Seam Gas market covering Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The report provides information on the coal seam gas and coal bed methane overall scenario, reserves, exploration, production, production forecast and status of CSG/CBM projects. The research also provides an in depth analysis of the CSG/CBM basins, fiscal policies, trends and competitive landscape of key CSG/CBM assets.

Coal Bed Methane (CBM), or Coal Seam Gas (CSG) as referred in Australia, is one of the major sources for gas. The naturally occurring methane gas has characteristics similar to that of conventional natural gas. Its regular applications are the same as that of natural gas. CSG is believed to be formed during the conversion of organic matter into coal, occurring over many years ago. It is usually extracted by pumping water into the deep coal bed, thereby extracting the methane adsorbed over the coal deposits.

Driven by Significant Coal Reserves, China, Australia and India Provide Healthy Prospects for CSG/CBM Development in Asia

Substantial coal reserves in certain Asian countries such as Australia, China and India provide a major boost for CSG or CBM development activities in Asia. As in 2010, the three countries collectively accounted for about 94.6% of Asia’s anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite coal reserves.

China leads the region’s anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite coal reserves with a 43.1% share, in Asia, followed by Australia with 28.7%. These countries are followed by India, Indonesia and Vietnam.As CBM or CSG is extracted from coal seam, the abundance of coal reserves in Asian countries provides significant potential for the exploration of methane gases. 

Australia Leads the Region in CSG Production, China and India are Other Emerging Markets

As of 2010, Australia is the most developed CSG/CBM market in Asia, with an estimated CSG production of 205.6 billion cubic feet (bcf). Within Australia, Queensland and New South Wales are the key centers for CSG activities. Of the total CSG production of 205.6bcf in Australia in 2010, about 200bcf was contributed by CSG projects in Queensland.Besides Australia, other emerging CBM markets in Asia include China and India. China witnessed CBM production of about 127bcf in 2010, while India’s CBM production in the same year was recorded to be about 1.96bcf.

Increasing Gas Demand in Asia Leading to Growth in CBM Development

Increasing demand for natural gas will be a major factor for the growth of the CBM industry in Asia. Driven by rapid industrialization and economic developments, especially in China and India, natural gas consumption in the region has increased substantially during the last decade. This trend is expected to continue in the future. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), China will have the highest natural gas demand by 2030, followed by India and Japan. A key reason for natural gas demand in these countries is their increasing preference to use natural gas for power generation, instead of using coal. 

The expected rapid growth of natural gas consumption in key Asian countries has demanded the development of unconventional gas sources in these countries. In order to achieve this, China has aggressively pursued the development of its shale gas and CBM resources. Also, Australia has already witnessed major success in the development of its CBM resources. Similarly, other Asian countries with significant coal reserves such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam are trying to develop their CBM resources. 

CBM Production Affected by Slow Development of Associated Infrastructure

In certain Asian countries, the CBM development activities are affected by a lack of associated infrastructure. Countries such as Vietnam and India are key examples. Australia and China have announced huge LNG projects and pipeline facilities to support CBM development. However, these projects are scheduled to become operational only 3 – 4 years from now. 

Commercial production of CBM will be further encouraged and become profitable, when companies have the required infrastructure to transport the produced gas to demand centers or to nearest export terminal. 

Besides infrastructure, other challenges for CBM development include the availability of drilling technology for low cost drilling and comprehensive reservoir descriptions.”

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