Impacts on environment due to methane extraction in

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Information about Impacts on environment due to methane extraction in

Published on March 16, 2014

Author: pravinkumarmuthusamy




OBJECTIVE:  To create awareness among the students about these kind of projects which will affect our environment and life resource of all biotics.  This study will help people and organizations to take account of damages to biodiversity, water and land resources with CBM mining project.

INTRODUCTION:  The Kaveri delta coal-bed methane extraction project is currently undertaken by Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd (GEECL), a private company based in Gurgaon, Haryana.  The project aims to extract methane gas from coal-bed using environmentally destructive method of hydraulic fracturing in the Kaveri river basin.  The company received license to explore and extract CBM from Thanjavur and Thrivarur districts which are the major rice cultivating area of Tamil Nadu.

DETAILS ABOUT THE PROJECT:  On July 29, 2010 GEECL won CBM-IV type license in a biding to explore and extract methane gas and coal deposit in Mannarkudi block of Thrivarur district in the Kaveri basin from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India.  Subsequently then the government of Tamil Nadu issued petroleum exploration license (PEL) for area covering 667 sq. km comprising Thanjavur and Thriruvarur districts.

DETAILS ABOUT THE PROJECT:  The company has a plan to drill more than 50 crore production wells of 500–1500 ft deep in the ground.  In September 2012 the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests (MOEF) issued environmental clearance to the project.  Present state government of Tamil Nadu temporarily suspended the project citing issues raised by the farmer.

Planned region for Methane Extraction and already existing pipelines

WHAT IS COAL BED METHANE?  Coal bed methane is a natural gas by-product of coal formation. During coal formation, organic matter is chemically broken down into simple organic compounds.  Methane is a by-product of this breakdown.  Due to coal's porous nature, methane gas produced during coal formation is absorbed into the coal bed and held in place by the weight of the surrounding groundwater.

HOW IS COAL BED METHANE EXTRACTED?  In order to commercially produce coal bed methane, it is necessary to decrease the water pressure within the coal bed.  When the pressure is decreased, the methane gas naturally desorbs from the coal and migrates through the coal bed.

IMPACTS OF METHANE EXTRACTION  Ground water depletion  Salt water intrusion  Surface water discharge  Chemical contamination  Large scale environmental effects

IMPACTS TO ENVIRONMENT Ground Water Depletion.  One of the environmental effects of coal bed methane extraction is the immense quantity of water pumped out of the coal bed aquifers.  On average, approximately 12-15 gallons of water per minute are pumped from each well. During the initial phase of production, water is pumped at a very high rate  Due to large quantity of groundwater extraction the water table goes down results in groundwater depletion.

CONTINUED...  In several reported cases, local water wells have gone dry after coal bed methane operations have begun.


IMPACTS DUE TO SURFACE WATER DISCHARGE  Surface discharge is the most common disposal option for the extracted coal bed water, the compositional characteristics of coal bed water can have a tremendous impact on the surrounding ecology.  The quality of coal bed water varies considerably from well to well and basin to basin, but, on average, the deeper the coal bed, the more saline the water becomes.

CONTINUED…  Other compositional elements typically seen in extracted coal bed water include:  Major Cations (positively charged ions such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, & calcium)  Major Anions (negatively charged ions such as chlorine, sulphate, & hydrogen carbonate)  Trace Elements & Metals (iron, manganese, barium, chromium, arsenic, sel enium, & mercury)  Organics (hydrocarbons and additives).

CONTINUED…  The saline and sodic quality of coal bed water can have catastrophic impacts on local agriculture when discharged into local waterways.  The moderate to high levels of salt in coal bed water can destroy soils and decrease crop production.  The salts gather in the root base of plants, making it harder for the plants to extract water from the soil and inhibiting growth.

CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION  One of the process used for methane extraction is Hydraulic Fracturing.  Hydraulic fracturing pumps a mixture of heavy chemicals, water, sand and/or other materials down an extraction well under extremely high pressure in order to achieve the desired fracturing.

CONTINUED…  Hydraulic fracturing raises serious concerns because of the chemicals being used and their impact on the local ecology.  If the coal bed aquifer is tributary to surface water or other groundwater aquifers, chemical contamination can spread into domestic, agricultural, and industrial water supplies.  Some of the chemicals used for this process is Lead, Uranium & Mercury which are all carcinogens.

LARGE-SCALE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS  Methane exists in the environment as a greenhouse gas that has been linked to global warming.  After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most important greenhouse gas. Methane's warming effect is 21 times greater than that of carbon dioxide; however, it stays in the atmosphere for a significantly shorter period of time.

CONCLUSION  As with all carbon based fossil fuels, burning coal-bed methane releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.  CBM (Coal-bed Methane) production also involves release of methane into the atmosphere, often referred to as fugitive methane.  Recent studies have found that fugitive release may be as high as 4 to 9% of the total produced by a project.

REFERENCES:  effects-methane.html#ixzz2ubi9BZLG  Bulletin/Client-Bulletin7.html  bed_methane_project  effects-methane.html  unacceptable-impacts-of-coal-seam-gas-and-shale- gas-extraction

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