Kolkata: The Coal Bed Methane (CBM) project roadmap for Coal India Ltd will be based on a detailed techno-feasibility study, and the process for hiring consultants is expected to commence soon, a top official of the state-owned miner has said.
"A broad study is being done by Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI). Expert consultants will be engaged through a global tender for a detailed techno-feasibility study.
"Based on the reports, both CMPDI and Coal India will have a more clear idea on the most feasible business model for exploration, production and marketing," Coal India Director (Technical) Binay Dayal said.
He expressed satisfaction on the Cabinet nod for exploration and exploitation of CBM from areas under Coal Mining Lease allotted to Coal India.
Based on CMPDI's guidance, the mining behemoth is planning to go ahead with the Jharia coalfields (Jharkhand) under its subsidiary Bharat Coking Coal Ltd, initially out of the two blocks it had been offered on a nomination basis.
According to estimates, Rs 3,000 crore investment would be required for the development of the field.
The Raniganj block is owned by Eastern Coalfields, another CIL subsidiary.
The Jharia block is estimated to hold reserves of 25 billion cubic metres and the Raniganj block around 3 billion cubic metres of CBM.
The government had earlier said that domestic coal gas could be used as feedstock for producing urea and other chemicals, which can help restrict the country's import bill by $10 billion in five years and reduce carbon emission.
CBM is a form of natural gas trapped in coal seams underground, and is usually extracted by drilling the seam.