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A weak commodities market, increasing production costs, slow permit turnaround and rising natural gas inventories have contributed to a slowdown of North American coalbed methane activity during the past 12 months, continuing a trend seen last year. Production stayed level in 2006, and CBM drilling is predicted to drop for the first time in 2007.
This slowdown of activity occurs as reserves figures rose in 2006 with the addition of the Alaskan North Slope to the US Geological Survey’s CBM recoverable reserves estimate, increasing the figure 27% to 85 Tcf from 67 Tcf. The San Juan basin retained the greatest part of these reserves with 24.24 Tcf, followed by the Alaskan North Slope with 18.06 Tcf, the Powder River basin with 14.26 Tcf and the Appalachian basin with 8.40 Tcf. The US Department of Energy’s proved reserves rose considerably less, to 19.89 Tcf from 18.39 Tcf.
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