Russia Starts Production of Gas from Coal

Gazprom plans to produce around 4 billion cubic metres of coal gas in the Kuzbass region.

Gazprom launched a project to extract gas from goal, one of Russia's pioneering steps into unconventional ways to produce gas.

"A new project has been launched, a very interesting project to extract gas from shale," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Feb. 12 after the inaugural ceremony in the West Siberian coal-mining region of Kemerovo.

The Kremlin chief said the new technology would help make coal mining safer in a country known for its high accident rate in the industry.

Alexei Miller, chief executive of Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, said Russia's coal gas resources stood at 84 trillion cubic meters, which accounts for one-third of all natural gas resources in the country.

"Today we have taken an important step on the path to creating a new subindustry in Russia's fuel and energy complex," Miller said .

The statement said the company planned to produce around 4 billion cubic metres (bcm) of coal gas in the Kuzbass region, planning to ramp up production to 18-21 bcm in the long-term.

Countries such as the United States are successfully developing unconventional technologies to extract gas, a move that is potentially upsetting for major traditional gas producers like Russia.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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