China has absorbed accumulated overseas investment of 150 million US dollars in yielding coalbed methane gas for commercial use.
Up to mid-2005, China had signed 21 coalbed methane product sharing contracts with 10 overseas companies. Nineteen contracts are being implemented, said Sun Maoyuan, general manager of the China United Coalbed Methane Co.Ltd., which has a franchise for cooperation with overseas partners in methane prospecting, development and production.
Workers have sunk 234 wells and finished seven pilot test wells under the contract.
China ranks third in the world in terms of coalbed methane reserves after Russia and Canada. The latest coalbed methane resource evaluation shows that the coalbed methane reserve hidden 2,000 meters below the ground surface is estimated at 31.5 trillion cubic meters, equivalent to 45 billion tons of standard coal or 35 billion tons of petroleum.
Out of the country's total coalbed methane reserve, 60 percent are buried 1,500 meters below the ground surface and are applicable for commercial development.