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Timely gas supplies from coal

Timely gas supplies from coal

Supplies of methane gas from underground coal seams in the Waikato are a step closer to commercial reality, it was revealed today.

Research scientists from coal producer, Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd and Resource Development Technology LLC, an independent US oil and gas company, today presented research to the 2006 Petroleum Conference in Auckland that showed promising early results at five sites in the Waikato area.

“This is a particularly timely project with the serious gas supply gap New Zealand faces in the very near future,” said Solid Energy Research Manager, Dr Tim Moore.

“Early indications show flow rates of two to five PJ per annum, potentially sufficient for commercial development. Such rates would allow us to supply gas to between 40,000 and 100,000 households a year, or meet five to 10 per cent of Huntly Power Station’s annual needs.

“Gas purity is very positive with results showing methane levels at more than 98 per cent.”

Dr Moore said the next stage was to proceed to drill five appraisal wells in the second quarter of 2006, with full results available at the end of the year.

“If all goes well, gas from these deep Huntly coalfields could be supplying industry or homes as early as 2008.”

Dr Moore added that coal seam gas projects were an important example of non-traditional uses of coal.


Coal seam gas can be found in most of New Zealand’s coal resources: Taranaki, the West Coast and Southland, as well as the Waikato coalfields.

Exploration and evaluation of New Zealand’s coal seam gas resources began in the 1980s, but it is only recently that work has begun to prove the commercial viability of this energy resource.

Though less well known in this country, exploration and mining of coal seam gas is well established in Australia and the United States.

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