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CBM production and reserves growth is slower, but drilling remains frenetic.
Although growth in North American coalbed methane (CBM) activity slowed during the last 12 months, it has still been a strong period for this subset of the E&P industry. Estimates of global in-situ CBM reserves now range between 3,500 and 7,500 Tcf, and the North American figure is between 1,000 and 3,000 Tcf. Within the North American number, the US figure most often cited is 700 Tcf.
Actual CBM reserves that are technically recoverable are much lower. In the US, various numbers have been tossed around, with one estimate of 243 Tcf from five western US basins. However, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted a 100-Tcf figure in its discussions. Furthermore, the US Geological Survey last November issued a “mean case” estimate of technically recoverable US CBM reserves of 67 Tcf.
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