State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid yesterday inaugurated three wells at Jamalganj Coalfield to study methane gas reserves there.
This is the first time ever that the government has pursued such an initiative. The study will be carried out under the ‘Feasibility study for the extraction of coal-bed methane at Jamalganj Coalfield project.’
The government decided to go for coal-bed methane (CBM) on 6 acres of land of state-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation’s (Petrobangla) Jamalganj Coalfield with a view to meeting the country’s ever-growing energy demand.
CBM is a natural methane gas found in coal seams. It is the methane usually found in coal emitted from the face of coal mines.
Inaugurating the wells, the state minister said it is urgent to look for alternative energy sources as the reserves of natural gas are reducing day by day. The government has taken steps to look for alternative sources such as LNG, LPG and coal to ensure the energy security of the country, he added.
Under the project, three core wells will be drilled in the field and coal samples will be tested to know the proven credibility and reliability of coal-bed methane in the field.
Petrobangla has taken up the project at a cost of Tk2337.86 lakh. Petrobangla will implement the project with its own funds.
Petrobangla under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) has recently signed a deal with Mining Associates Private Ltd (MAPL), an Indian company, to conduct a feasibility study of coal-bed methane (CBM) extraction at Jamalganj Coalfield.
CBM has been considered a safety hazard in underground mines, but due to the latest technological innovations it has now become a significant energy resource.
CBM can be extracted through drilling into underground coal without coal being mined, thus accessing alternative natural gas reserves.
The feasibility study will provide necessary information on CBM and the potential to generate power from it.
The Jamalganj coalfield was discovered by a UN-Pakistani mineral survey team between 1962 and 1965 during a geological and geophysical survey in Jamalganj-Jaipurhat area.
Jamalganj Coalfield with an estimated reserve of about 1.053 billion tonnes of coal is the deepest and largest coalfield in Bangladesh.
It has seven coal seams in the depth range between 600 metres and 1,100 metres below the ground surface. The coal layer is assumed to be 40-metre wide.
Compared to other coalfields in Bangladesh, with coal available at 150 to 500m depth, Jamalganj coal is considered to be too deep to be exploited by conventional underground or open-pit mining.