Prospects for Coalbed Methane and Shale Gas in a Carbon-Constrained World: A Preliminary Analysis


Using a regionally disaggregated global energy system model with a detailed treatment of the natural gas resource base, this paper analyzes the competitiveness of coalbed methane and shale gas in the global primary energy mix and the cost-optimal pattern of their production in regional detail over the period 2010-2050 under a constraint of halving global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2050 compared to the 2000 level. It is first shown that neither coalbed methane nor shale gas could become an important fuel in the global primary energy mix throughout the time horizon, although each of them could become an important source of world natural gas production from around 2030 onwards. It is then shown that unlike findings of previous studies, coalbed methane would be more attractive than shale gas as a primary energy source globally under the CO2 constraint used here. The results indicate that North America continues to be the world’s largest coalbed methane producer until 2030, after which China overtakes North America and retains this position until 2050. Also, India, Russia, South Africa, and Australia contribute noticeably to world coalbed methane production. The results also indicate that North America continues to dominate world shale gas production until 2040, after which a number of world regions, notably India, Europe, and China, begin to participate visibly in world shale gas production.

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T. Takeshita, "Prospects for Coalbed Methane and Shale Gas in a Carbon-Constrained World: A Preliminary Analysis," International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy, Vol. 2 No. 2B, 2013, pp. 27-34. doi: 10.4236/ijcce.2013.22B007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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