Polish Oil and Gas Company has brought on stream a 0.9 MW power generation set fueled with coal-bed methane (CBM) extracted experimentally by the Company in Upper Silesia.
The gas-powered unit has been installed in Gilowice (in the municipality of Miedźna, region of Silesia), where since 2016 PGNiG, in partnership with the Polish Geological Institute, has been running the Geo-Metan CBM research project. The unit is operating at the Gilowice-1 borehole site, producing electricity for the Tauron Dystrybucja power grid.
“With the successful start-up of the CBM-fueled unit, our project to develop production of methane from coal seams has entered a new phase. During its first stage, we proved that industrial-scale extraction of CBM was feasible. Now we have managed to start production from the resources on a commercial basis,” said Piotr Woźniak, President of the PGNiG Management Board.
PGNiG has also selected the general contractor for a gas gathering system, to be constructed by mid-2020. It will be used to treat CBM from the Gilowice area prior to its transmission to the gas distribution network of Polska Spółka Gazownictwa.
The purpose of the project, carried out jointly by PGNiG and the Polish Geological Institute, is to explore the applicability of hydraulic fracturing to CBM production. The test production run by PGNiG from June to November 2017 yielded close to 900,000 cm of gas, a volume which prompted the Company to continue the project.
To date, two existing boreholes have been worked over and three new ones have been drilled by PGNiG in the Gilowice area. Geological surveys conducted for the purpose of the project involved 3D seismic imaging. The work is being carried out under the ‘Międzyrzecze’ CBM exploration, appraisal and production licence.
As part of the Geo-Metan project, PGNiG and Polska Grupa Górnicza have signed an agreement for test production of CBM from coal deposits in the Mikołów area, scheduled for mining at a later time. PGNiG is currently negotiating similar contracts with other coal producers.
According to estimates by the Polish Geological Institute, CBM reserves in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin may amount to as much as 170 bcm. If effective extraction methods are developed, these reserves are likely to make a major contribution to domestic gas production in Poland. Furthermore, CBM extraction will also help improve mining safety, reduce coal production costs, and curb methane emissions from mining operations.