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U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 00-293
Version 1.0

A Primer on the Occurrence of Coalbed Methane in Low-Rank Coals, with Special Reference to its Potential Occurrence in Pakistan

By John R. SanFilipo


This report compiles and updates a series of correspondence that took place between 1998 and early 2000 among the author and representatives of various consulting groups operating in the coal sector of Pakistan. The purpose of the original correspondence was to introduce basic concepts of coalbed methane (CBM) in low-rank coals to planners and other parties interested in the development of Pakistan's coal, particularly the large deposits of the Thar desert area of Sindh Province that were recently discovered (SanFilipo and Khan, 1994) by the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The author tested two shallow boreholes in Sindh Province for CBM in 1992, including one in Thar, with very marginal results. Additional targets with better CBM prospects were recommended shortly thereafter (SanFilipo and others, 1994), but these were not followed up during subsequent drilling, nor were any other sites tested. Recent events, notably the rapid pace of CBM development in low-rank coals of the Powder River Basin of the U.S., and a show of CBM in commercial quantities in the Cambay Basin of India - both of which are similar in age and rank to most of Pakistan's coal - have indicated a need for reevaluating the initial CBM investigations made in Pakistan in 1992 and for a reassessment of the CBM prospects for the country at large.

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For questions about the scientific content of this report, contact John R. SanFilipo.

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