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  • Coalbed methane expansion stalls


    D. M. Cohen

    Though North American coalbed methane production maintained modest growth in 2007, CBM drilling took a precipitous and unprecedented dive as lower gas prices, high dewatering costs and slow permit turnaround took a toll on development of this unconventional gas resource. US CBM activity. As predicted by World Oil last year, US coalbed methane drilling took a 24% plunge in 2007 to 5,595 wells from a revised 2006 number of 7,357, according to data reported by regulatory officials in CBM-producing states, Table 1. Permitting dropped for the second consecutive year, to 9,690 permits from a revised figure of 11,624 permits in 2006. However, 2008 is showing signs of a slight rebound. In the first half of the year, 2,398 wells were drilled, 27% higher than the 1,889 reported in first-half 2007, even though first-half 2008 permitting was slightly lower than last year. Overall, 2008 drilling is expected to flatten out at 5,787 wells.

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