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MAPL gears up to find out CBM in Jamalganj coalfield

Mining Associates Private Limited (MAPL), an Indian consultant company for the State-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) has started investigation work to conduct a feasibility study of coal-bed methane (CBM) extraction at Jamalganj coalfield at the northern part of Bangladesh.

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) can be found almost anywhere there is coal and its a clean energy for the world. It has potential as an abundant clean energy supply to help replace other diminishing hydrocarbon reserves.

Recent developments in technologies and methodologies are playing a large part in harnessing this unconventional resource.

Petrobangla General Manager Md Akhtaruzzaman told energynewsbd.com that the feasibility study will provide necessary information on CBM’ and the potential to generate power from it.

Earlier, in July last year, the state owned Petrobangla had floated an international tender to appoint a consultant.

As per the tender, the Petrobangla planned to initiate “Feasibility Study for the Extraction of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) at Jamalganj Coal Field” Project by engaging an internationally reputed Consulting Firm out of its own resources.

Under the scope of the project, it was intended to drill 3 (three) number of core wells and Laboratory testing of coal samples for feasibility study of Coal Bed Methane at Jamalganj coal field.

After the tender, nine foreign companies submitted proposals for the job and six were approved at the 455th board meeting of Petrobangla.

Finally in June this year, the Cabinet Committee on Purchase approved a proposal from the Energy Division to award the West Bengal-based MAPL to conduct the study. The company will get Tk19.13 crore to carry out the study.

Petrobangla sources said that the MAPL has already mobilised its consultants for Petrobangla and currently they have been reviewing the existing documents and information on the coal field.

The firm has delineated three sites in Joypurhat district at the Northern part of Bangladesh for drilling wells at the Jamalganj coal field. The firm expects to commence drilling and sampling of coal from the drill wells in November this year.

Once drilled and obtained coal samples, drill holes are to be geo-physically logged and coal samples to be analysed for understanding their chemical composition and methane gas content.

Also the thickness of the coal seams, permeability and the roof and bed conditions for the coal seams are required to be tested to assess whether the Jamalganj coal field offers commercial possibility for extraction of CBM.

Experts concerned said that the CBM reservoirs are different from conventional reservoirs in a number of ways, but the primary differences are water production and gas-storage mechanism.

Hydrocarbon-storage capacity in most oil and gas reservoirs is related to porosity because gas is trapped and stored in the pore systems of the matrix. Coals have moderate intrinsic porosity, yet they can store up to six times more gas than an equivalent volume of sandstone at a similar pressure. Gas-storage capacity is determined primarily by a coal’s rank.

The Jamalganj coalfield was discovered by a UN-Pakistani mineral survey team between 1962 and 1965 during a geological and geophysical survey in the Jamalganj-Jaipurhat area.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 metres wide.Compared to other coalfields in Bangladesh, with coal occurring at 150 to 500m depth, Jamalganj coal is considered to be too deep to be exploited by conventional underground or open pit mining.

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