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OF 06–1063: Introduction

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Prepared in cooperation with the Republic of the Philippines Department of Energy

The Republic of the Philippines Coalbed Methane Assessment: Based on Seventeen High Pressure Methane Adsorption Isotherms

By Romeo M. Flores, Gary D. Stricker, Ramon F. Papasin, Ronaldo R. Pendon, Rogelio A. del Rosario, Ruel T. Malapitan, Michael S. Pastor, Elmer A. Altomea, Federico Cuaresma, Armando S. Malapitan, Benjamin R. Mortos, and Elizabeth N. Tilos

The Republic of the Philippines has some 19 coal districts that contain coal deposits ranging from Eocene to Pleistocene in age. These coal districts include: (1) Catanduanes (Eocene); (2) Cebu, Zamboanga Sibuguey, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and Surigao (Oligocene to Miocene); (3) Batan Island, Masbate, Semirara (including Mindoro), and Quezon-Polilio (lower-upper Miocene); (4) Davao, Negros, and Sorsogon (middle-upper Miocene); (5) Cotabato (lower Miocene-lower Pliocene), Cagayan-Isabella, and Quirino (upper Miocene-Pliocene); (6) Sultan Kudarat (upper Miocene-Pleistocene); and (7) Samar-Leyte (lower Pliocene-Pleistocene). In general, coal rank is directly related to the age of the deposits – for example, the Eocene coal is semi-anthracite and the Pliocene-Pleistocene coal is lignite.

Total coal resources in these 19 coal districts, which are compiled by the Geothermal and Coal Resources Development Division (GCRDD) of the Department of Energy of the Philippines, are estimated at a minimum of 2,268.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) (approximately 2.3 billion metric tones). The largest resource (550 MMT) is the subbituminous coal in the Semirara (including Mindoro) coal district, and the smallest (0.7 MMT) is the lignite-subbituminous coal in the Quirino coal district. The combined lignite and subbituminous coal resources, using the classification by GCRDD and including Semirara and Surigao coal districts, are about 1,899.2 MMT, which make up about 84 percent of the total coal resources of the Philippines. The remaining resources are composed of bituminous and semi-anthracite coal.

The subbituminous coal of Semirara Island in the Mindoro- Semirara coal district is known to contain coalbed methane (CBM), with the coal being comparable in gas content and adsorption isotherms to the coal of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, USA. As a consequence, the presence of CBM in the Semirara coal led to the present study of determining the adsorption isotherms, or gas (CBM) holding or storage capacity, of coal beds of various ages from selected coal districts in the Philippines. Samples for the study were collected from the Batan Island, Catanduanes, Cagayan-Isabella, Cebu, Negros, Samar, Semirara, Cotabato, Surigao, and Malangas coalfield of the Zamboanga Sibuguey coal districts by five field geology teams from the GCRDD. logo  Take Pride in America button