Ministry of Coal has asked Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic meters) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years. CIL accounts for over 80 percent of India’s domestic coal output.


  • According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic meters (BCM).
  • According to the Directorate, CBM production in March 2015 was around 0.77 MMSCMD from 5 CBM blocks.
  • India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
  • The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India, with the Gondwana sediments of eastern India holding the bulk.

About Coal Bed Methane:

  • Coalbed methane, coalbed gas, coal seam gas, or coal-mine methane is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds
  • The term refers to methane adsorbed into the solid matrix of the coal which is near liquid state

Adsorption and Absorption

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface

This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent. 

This process differs from absorption, in which a fluid (the absorbate) is dissolved by or permeates a liquid or solid (the absorbent), respectively.

Adsorption is a surface phenomenon, while absorption involves the whole volume of the material.

  • It is called 'sweet gas' because of the lack of hydrogen sulfide.
  • CBM, like shale gas, is extracted from what is known as unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas (shale in case of shale gas and coal in case of CBM).
  • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. 
  • The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.

Areas of Development:

  • The Damodar Koel valley and Son valley are prospective areas for CBM development 
  • With CBM projects existing in Raniganj South, Raniganj East and Raniganj North areas in the Raniganj coalfield, the Parbatpur block in Jharia coalfield and the East and West Bokaro coalfields.

Significance of CBM:

  • CBM can be used for power generation,
  • As compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel,
  • As a feedstock for fertilizers,
  • Industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and methanol production.