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Geology/Methane gas and coal

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Question
If coal is mined, can the methane gas be collected and sold separate from the coal?

Answer
The production and sale of coal-bed methane became a reality about 10 -12 years ago; although, coal-bed methane has been removed, by the coal mining companies, from coal beds for many many years before that to reduce the problems associated with methane in coal mining.  This methane was not sold just burnt at the well site.  Beginning about 10 - 12 years ago, when the price of methane rose above $10/MCF, companies started looking into producing and selling the methane. The cost of producing coal-bed methane was, during that time, about $6/MCF so when natural gas dropped below $4 it was no longer economic.  During that time; however, there were many coal-bed methane projects in the US: Colorado, Montana, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania (there are few places in Kentucky in which the coal is deep enough).  In many cases the methane was removed to reduce problems in mining the coal; particularly in areas where the coal was significantly below drainage (because the methane was much more of a problem since it could not escape the coal bed).

The new technology (horizontal drilling) was an off-shoot of the coal-bed methane production since the coal-bed methane wells were drilled to the coal bed and then taken horizontal with spurs of of the main drill steel called Christmas treeing.  

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Joe Norris

Expertise

I am an economic geologist. An economic geologist does mineral evaluations and appraisals of mineral or mining properties. I can tell you if your deposit has value - remember that a mineral deposit, no matter how good, only has value when mined. Any value assigned to a mineral deposit, in the ground, is only the speculative value that deposit.

Experience

I have been a economic geologist for most of my 35 year career. Although I have done work in perhaps 45 states and numerious countries much of my work has been in Appalachian coal, intermountain west gold and silver, and Arizona uranium.

Organizations
Past President of the Virginia Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a certified geologist in twelve states.

Education/Credentials
BS Degree from Eastern Kentucky University. Work on MS Degree @ Eastern Kentucky University, Colorad School of Mines & Marshall University Numerious short courses on the value of mineral deposits and how to value same. Also several short courses dealing with the different types of geologic processes; sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic along with the mineral associated with each.

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