United States
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Air and Radiation
     Spring 2006
                                                                                            * *•
 A publication of the Coalbed Methane Outreach Program (CMOP)
             Safety at Coal  Mines: What  Role Does Methane Play?
     The Coalbed Methane Outreach  Program (CMOP)
     works with coal mines in the US and abroad to re-
     cover methane gas—rather than liberate it into the
atmosphere—and to use it productively.  The  program's
primary goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
to promote the environmental benefits of coal mine meth-
ane (CMM) recovery and utilization projects.  Because
accumulated methane  can cause explosions  and other
serious accidents in a coal mine, removing it from the coal
seam also has  implications for coal mine safety. There-
fore,  CMOP recognizes and  promotes  improved mine
safety as a critical co-benefit of CMM projects.
                           The recent Sago  Mine disaster in West  Virginia  and
                           other widely publicized coal mine accidents around the
                           world have received a great deal of attention and have
                           generated some confusion about the link between meth-
                           ane drainage and  safety. In response, this article  pro-
                           vides an  overview of safety concerns faced by coal
                           mines and how they do or do not relate to methane. The
                           first section explains the variety of safety issues a coal
                           mine must take into consideration, including  methane
                           build-up. The second section summarizes the  recent
                           coal mine accident at Sago Mine in West Virginia.  The
                           final section describes the regulatory and legislative re-
                           sponses in the U.S.              „   „  , ,       „
                            M                            See Sa/efy, page 2
 In  this issue...

 1   Safety at Coal Mines: What
     Role Does Methane Play?

 1   Methane to Markets Update

 3   Energy Prices Update

 4   International Perspective on
     Coal Mine Safety

 7   CMM/CBM News

 9   Upcoming CMM/CBM
    To obtain CMOP reports, call
        1 888-STAR-YES.

  Access documents electronically
From the "Documents, Tools, and Re
 sources" pages on our Web site at

To subscribe to CBM Extra provide contact
   information to Pamela Franklin at or to
      Barbora Jemelkova at

To subscribe to CBM Notes, email a sub
        scription request to with
   "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.
                             Methane to Markets  Update
      The first quarter of 2006 has been an eventful one for the Methane to Markets Part-
      nership as a whole. As a result, CMOP remained busy as it attended and planned
      various Partnership events and tackled  important subcommittee action items.

      UNECE Coal Mine Methane Meetings held in Geneva
      From January 30  to February 1, 2006, CMOP participated in  CMM meetings con-
      vened in Geneva, Switzerland by the United Nations Economic Commission for
      Europe (UNECE), a Methane to Markets Project Network (PN) member. The meet-
      ings  included the  Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane as well as the
      Task Force on the Economic Benefits of Improving Mine Safety through the Extrac-
      tion and Use of Coal Mine Methane. Delegates from several partner countries, in-
      cluding Russia, Ukraine, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., participated.

      The meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts featured presentations from country
      delegates, academic scholars, and the  financial sector. CMOP gave a presentation
      providing updates on global Methane  to Market Partnership  activities in the coal
      sector. The Ad Hoc Group of Experts meeting featured a workshop on the basics of
      project financing for CMM projects through securing debt and equity investments.
      This workshop was the inaugural event of a US EPA-funded UNECE project to de-
      velop CMM recovery and utilization projects in Central and Eastern Europe and the
      Commonwealth of Independent States  (CIS). This project seeks to facilitate financ-
      ing of CMM projects in this region by overcoming the specific barriers of the mining
      community, building capacity  to develop  "bankable" investment documents,  and
      providing access to the  international finance community. There will be a follow-up
      workshop in the future. The UNECE is an active member of the Methane to Markets
      Partnership Project Network.
                                                     See M2M Update, page 6

Spring 2006
Page 2
                                       COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                         M I  T H * N t
Safety, continued from page 1

Safety Issues at Coal Mines
Over the last 80 years, U.S. coal mines have come a long
way in increasing safety and  decreasing fatalities and ac-
cidents.  The number of deaths from coal  mining in the
United States  has dwindled  over time - from 2,063 in
1930, to 325 in 1960, to 22 in 2005.  According to the US
Department of Labor, U.S. coal mining fatalities have been
relatively consistent over the  past few years as shown in
Figure 1.  Safety at U.S. coal mines  has undoubtedly im-
proved due to  stronger regulations, more thorough over-
sight,  increased  automation,  and improved  equipment.
Yet, so  far in 2006, there have already  been 21 deaths
due to coal mining, 15 of which are attributed to methane
related  fires or  explosions.   This recent  upsurge  has
brought  mine safety to the forefront, emphasizing the nu-
merous  hazards and safety issues faced by coal miners.
The sources of risk for coal miners include not only meth-
ane accumulation but also coal dust accumulation and the
dangers of working  in dark, confined  spaces with motor-
ized equipment.
Rgure 1. Coal Mine Fatalities of Recent Years


2002 2003 2004 2005 2006*
• Total Fatalities • Methane-Related Fatalities
*2006 data is January through March
Methane Accumulation
Methane build-up is a common  concern  because all un-
derground coal  mines in the U.S. encounter methane to
some extent.  Only those mines that emit  at least 100,000
cubic feet (~2,832 cubic meters) of methane per day, how-
ever, are considered  "gassy".  CMOP has profiled the 50
gassiest mines in the U.S. in a recent publication1 as the
best candidates for CMM recovery projects.

To ensure that methane does not endanger worker safety,
the Mine Safety Health  Administration (MSHA)  requires
that all underground mines in the U.S. keep methane lev-
els below 1  percent at all times. As a result, all U.S. mines
use ventilation systems to circulate air through  the mine
workings. In the case of some gassy mines, methane can
still accumulate in pockets within the mine where ventila-
tion is  inadequate.  If these  methane accumulations are
ignited  by mining equipment and friction due to  roof falls,
they can be responsible for explosions and fires. To pre-
vent this type of disaster, those mines that cannot consis-
tently keep methane levels safe with a ventilation system
alone turn to a second  mechanism—drainage wells.

According to CMOP records,  in 2004 21 mines in the US
drained methane from  the coal seam either before or dur-
ing mining to  decrease the load on the ventilation system
and keep in-mine methane concentrations within  a safe
range.  Other mines are considering or planning the instal-
lation of drainage as their operations encounter more gas.

Employing these methods is not always  a cure,  however,
as methane-related explosions and fires still  occur.  Roof
falls can release  unanticipated pockets of methane,  in-
creasing the methane concentration to ignitable levels. For
example, several  mines in Alabama experienced  explo-
sions and accidents over the past several years despite
their use of both ventilation and drainage  systems.

Flammable Dust Accumulation
Another major issue encountered  by coal miners  is the
accumulation  of flammable dust,  which  is created when
coal is  extracted, drilled, and transported in the workings
of the mine. When this dust accumulates in mine tunnels,
it can  easily be ignited and cause devastating accidents.
For example, eighteen people were killed  and nine were
injured  in  late February  in a dust-related  explosion in a
Chinese mine. Dust explosions often occur after methane
explosions or during drilling. To prevent such explosions,
miners  cover the floor,  rib, and roof surfaces of mine open-
ings with large  quantities of inert rock dust such as fine
limestone  dust.  Ventilation is  often used to carry dust
away; however, depending on  the mine, ventilation may
exacerbate the problem.

Other Safety Hazards
Another major safety issue in underground mines is roof
falls and skin failures  which  are smaller debris falls.  In
both continuous and conventional mining, the  roof over the
mined-out area is supported  for safety.  The  most impor-
tant development in roof support - both in terms of safety
and cost - has been  the "roof bolt." Roof bolts are long
rods driven into the roof to bind  several layers of weak
strata into a layer strong enough to support its own weight.
Roof falls, which are often fatal,  occur  when a roof bolt
fails.  Skin failures occur when smaller debris falls from
between the bolted area, which may result in injury but is
not usually fatal.  The National Institute for Occupational
Safety  and Health (NIOSH) suggests that miners use pro-
tective  canopies and roof screens while  installing bolts in
                                  See Safety, page 4
1 Identifying Opportunities for Coal Mine Methane Recovery at US Coal Mines: Profiles of Selected Gassy Underground Mines (1999-2003). 2003 final.pdf

Spring 2006
Page 3
                                      COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                                                                M I T H * N t
          Energy Prices Update
Update  on  the  Natural Gas and  Electricity
Last fall, natural gas prices broke records nationwide dur-
ing  the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the
subsequent decline in production.  Though wellhead price
increases  led to higher than  ever winter heating  bills as
utilities and energy experts warned last fall, prices fell from
the  post-hurricane peaks (see Figure 1).  Prices declined
late in the year along with demand  because of warmer
than average winter temperatures.   Prices still hit  record
highs  in the fourth quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of
2006 but were lower than forecasted, raising concerns for
the  coming year.  The Energy Information Administration's
Short  Term  Energy Outlook  for March  reports approxi-
mately 400 million cubic feet  per day of natural gas pro-
duction are expected to remain offline prior to the start of
the  next hurricane season, June 1, 2006. Concerns about
potential future supply tightness and continuing pressure
from high  oil market prices  are keeping expected spot
natural gas prices for the next heating season  at high lev-
      figure 1. Quarterly Residential Natural Gas Rices by Region
           New England-

           WN Central.

           WS. Central-
          Md Atlantic

          S. Atlantic

              EN Central

              ES. Central

The  Energy Outlook notes residential electricity  prices
rose an estimated 5.5 percent nationally in 2005.  Some of
the fastest increases in  household electricity prices oc-
curred in the Northeast, as evidenced by New England's
towering  prices, and in the West South Central  region
(Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas)—see  Figure
2.  Electricity demand is expected to increase  only slightly
in  2006 due to weak heating-related demand this January
and lower cooling-related demand this summer.  However,
                                       economic growth and an expected boost in heating-related
                                       demand in the first quarter next year are expected to yield
                                       an  overall growth in  electricity  demand of 2.1  percent in
                                                           Rgure 2. Quarterly Residential Regional Electricity Prices
                                         CM 2005
^— Nsw England —
W N Central 	
	 W S. Central 	
Md Atlantic
S. Atlantic 	
IVbuntain —
E N Central
E S. Central
Natural Gas Supply Shortages:  Evidence in
the Rocky Mountains
Dwindling natural gas supply and increased demand are
responsible for rolling power blackouts in areas of Colo-
rado in late February.  The controlled blackouts affected
325,000 power customers, some for several hours. Xcel
Energy, the region's largest power supplier, released infor-
mation citing reduced natural gas supply into Colorado as
the reason for curtailed electrical service. Later news re-
leases reported that portions of three coal-fired Colorado
power plants were out of commission for scheduled main-
tenance or  because of mechanical breakdowns, increas-
ing the need for natural gas which  usually generates half
of Xcel's energy.  In addition, weather forecasts predicted
higher than  actual temperatures; thus, natural gas was not
available to meet demand created  by extreme cold.  The
shortage was exacerbated by a number of Rocky  Moun-
tain natural  gas wells suffering frozen pumping equipment
as well as regional gas pipelines operating at full capacity,
preventing delivery of additional supplies from other areas.
Xcel issued a report to the Colorado Public Utilities Com-
mission on March 13, which will be  reviewed over the  next
three  months to determine if regulatory action  is needed.
The  company will  investigate its weather  forecasting
sources to see if better accuracy is possible.

Spring 2006
Page 4
                                       COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                                           M I T H * N t
Safety, continued from page 2

newly mined-out areas.  MSHA re-
quires carefully executed  roof control
systems and roof hazard alert devices
to keep  miners out of  unprotected
areas as ways to prevent  injuries and

Finally, working in  tight spaces with
equipment and vehicles poses the risk
of being  crushed or struck.   Miners
can  be  hurt  by conveyor belts, hy-
draulic  hoses,  and  while  repairing
equipment. In 2005, 10  deaths oc-
curred   in  U.S.  underground  coal
mines due to powered equipment.

The Sago Mine Accident
As discussed above,  even mines that
aren't considered especially prone to
high  methane levels are vulnerable to
methane-related accidents.   Nothing
brought  this point home to the public
more than the January 2  Sago mine
disaster,  which has  been called the
worst mining-related  accident  in the
state of  West Virginia  in almost 40
years. The explosion occurred when
miners returned to work following the
New Year's holiday.  Twelve miners
perished, while  one survivor is  recov-

Since the  Sago event,  speculation
regarding the cause  of the accident
led to media coverage of the mine's
safety record leading up to the acci-
dent.  Sago had 208 MSHA citations
in 2005,  but MSHA reports that none
were serious enough to close the en-
tire  mine.  According to MSHA, less
than  half were for "significant and sub-
stantial" violations and  none involved
an immediate  risk  of injury.   MSHA
attributes the relatively high number of
citations  to Sago's increased mining
operations in 2005 (more than double
the  2004 production levels),  which
prompted MSHA to  dramatically in-
crease its on-site inspection  and en-
forcement presence. Though some of
the citations addressed methane ven-
tilation issues, Sago  was  not consid-
ered a gassy mine and was  not pro-
filed  by  CMOP as  a good candidate
for a methane drainage  project.

Currently, MSHA and the West Vir-
ginia Office of Miner's Health, Safety,
and  Training (WVMHST)  are  con-
ducting an official investigation of the
accident. One question this federal-
state team is asking is whether leaks
in nearby natural gas wells may have
led to methane buildup in the mine or
if lightning may have hit a well.  Also
under investigation  is the design  and
installation of a block wall, the timeli-
ness of rescue  efforts, and the ab-
sence of a  mobile  communications
system.    International  Coal Group
(ICG), which purchased Sago  and
began  operating   it in November
2005, completed their independent
accident  investigation and   released
the results on March 14.  ICG reports
that  an  explosion   was ignited  by
lightning and fueled  by
methane that naturally
accumulated   in    an
abandoned area of the
mine  that  had  been
recently sealed.   The
ICG  investigation con-
cludes that none of the
citations issued at  the
Sago Mine during  the
accident  investigation,
or prior to the accident
during   2005,   were
linked to the explosion
in any way.  ICG  be-
lieves the  results  of
the  joint federal-state
              International  Perspective  on
              Coal Mine Safety

              The United States is not the only
              country facing safety concerns at coal
              mines. In fact, several other countries
              have  higher fatality rates  per  million
              metric tons of coal produced (see Fig-
              ure 1).  Recent high profile coal mine
              accidents in Mexico and  China,  the
              world leader in coal production, CMM
              emissions, and coal mining fatalities,
              illustrate  the global nature  of the dan-
              ger posed by  mine methane.   Both
              China and Mexico  are making  efforts
              to improve mine safety specifically by
              targeting CMM drainage and recovery
investigation will reach
a  similar  conclusion.
As of March 15, Sago
has  resumed  mining
        Figure 1. Comparison of International
     Mortality Rates Due to Coal Mining 2003-2004

Sources: Ukraine -; Russia and South Africa -
Wang Deming of China University of Mining and Technol-
ogy; Australia, US, and China - YX Cao, Ph.D. of Asian
American Gas Inc.; India - China Labor Watch

Note: China's mortality rate is based on official data from the
State General Administration of Work Safety.
MSHA's Response
U.S. mine safety regulations, today
considered among the most stringent
in  the world, have been  developed
primarily  in  response to  coal  mine
tragedies over the past several dec-
ades. The 1968 explosion at West
Virginia's Farmington No. 9 mine,
which killed  78  miners,  led to the
Mine Health  and Safety Act of 1969.
The  Coal Act,  as   it  is  generally
known,  was more   comprehensive
and more stringent than any previous
Federal   legislation   governing  the

                 See Safety, page 5
              China is often the focus of mine safety
              discussions.  In 2005 alone it is esti-
              mated  that there were 6,000 deaths
              from coal mining according to  official
              government statistics; other estimates
              are as high as 20,000, according to
              the  Hong  Kong-based labor  group
              China  Labor  Bulletin.  The Chinese
              fatality rate of 6,000 to 20,000 coal
              mining deaths per year indicates that
              4 to 13  miners die for every  million
              metric  tons of coal  produced.  Cur-
              rently in  the US, 0.04  miners die  for

                          See International, page 5

Spring 2006
Page 5
                                       COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                                         M I T H * N t
Safety, continued from page 4

mining industry. The Coal Act included
surface  as well  as underground  coal
mines within  its  scope,  required more
inspections,   and  imposed  monetary
penalties for  violations.  Most  recently
Congress  passed  the  Federal  Mine
Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine
Act), the legislation which currently gov-
erns MSHA's activities.  The Mine Act
transferred responsibility for carrying out
its mandates from the Department of
the Interior to the Department of Labor,
and  named MSHA responsible for as-
sisting the mining community with rule
compliance and offering  education and
technical training to mining personnel.
Today, MSHA is  required to inspect un-
derground mines at least four times per
year while more frequent  inspections
are authorized and required for certain
mines, such as those that release large
amounts of methane  gas.  MSHA also
investigates  all  fatal  mine  accidents.
Furthermore, MSHA has the authority to
issue citations, assess fines, and even
stop work at  mines for safety reasons.
It is estimated that MSHA collected $25
million in fines from  all  U.S. mines in
Primarily in  response to the Sago
incident, MSHA has initiated a vari-
ety of safety  measures and  events.
First, MSHA is in the process of field-
testing a number of emergency com-
munications  and  tracking  systems
that  represent  the  most promising
technologies for application in under-
ground mines. Both MSHA-approved
technologies and those under devel-
opment  will be  evaluated.  Further-
more, the agency  is  co-sponsoring
the "Spring Thaw 2006  Safety Pro-
gram" to host more than fifty coop-
erative mine safety and health work-
shops around the nation to increase
awareness  of mining  hazards.  For
example, MSHA, the  state  of West
Virginia, and  NIOSH will co-sponsor
an  international Mining  Health and
Safety Symposium from April 20-22
at  Wheeling Jesuit  University  in
Wheeling, West Virginia.  MSHA has
also promoted time-sensitive safety
themes.  It declared  February 20 -
24 "Focus on Safety Week" for metal
and  non-metal  mines  nationwide,
and it conducted a "Stand Down  for
Safety"  nationwide  on  February 6
during which time miners, company
officials  and   management   dis-
cussed safety issues and hazards.

MSHA also responded to the Sago
incident with tougher regulation. On
February 10, MSHA announced that
it would pursue an  emergency tem-
porary standard (ETS), a rulemak-
ing procedure that has  only been
used  twice before  by  MSHA.  On
March 9, the ETS took effect upon
its publication in the Federal Regis-
ter. The standard makes the follow-
ing health  and safety  enhance-
1) Self-Contained Self Rescue De-
vices: MSHA requires  mine opera-
tors to  maintain additional SCSRs
for each miner underground  in  a
storage area where they are readily
accessible for miners in the event of
an emergency.
2) Lifelines: MSHA requires  mine
operators  to  install lifelines  in all
primary and alternate escape routes
out of the mine. Lifelines help guide
miners  in  poor visibility conditions
toward evacuation routes.
3)  Training:  Training  provisions
              See  Safety, page 8
International, continued from page 4
every million metric tons of coal produced.  Several disas-
ters this year have resulted in fatalities.  A gas explosion
February 1 at Jincheng Mining Group's Sihe mine in the
Shanxi Province resulted  in the death of 23 miners and
gas poisoning of 53 others.  This particular accident has
received attention because the largest CMM power gen-
eration project in the world—a 120 MW power plant—is
currently under construction at Sihe mine.

China's government has  made  improving  work safety a
policy priority for years,  but has fallen short of its goals for
reducing  the number of  accidents  as  mines  have in-
creased production to meet increasing demand.  Coal is
produced in China from both state and provincially owned
mines as well as mines owned by the private sector.  Al-
though laws and regulations should apply  regardless of
ownership, enforcement of regulations in private mines is
difficult, and consequently safety practices vary sharply
depending on location  and  ownership.   Thousands  of
mines have been ordered to close, and China has joined
international  training  and  safety programs.  In addition,
officials have been outlawed from owning shares in mining
operations and awards have been given for tips on unsafe
mining operations.
                Though globally it ranks 27th in coal production and 17th in
                CMM emissions,  Mexico  has recently had at least one
                high-profile mine accident. In the border state of Coahuila,
                an explosion killed  65 miners and  injured eight at the
                Pasta de Conchos coal mine on February 19.  Investiga-
                tors report that the mine collapsed in an explosion fed by
                methane  and coal dust. The vice president of operations
                at the  mine cites a sudden  accumulation of gas in the
                mine as the cause. Recovery of the 65 perished miners is
                expected to take weeks to months  due to the elevated
                methane  levels  remaining, which continue to pose unsafe
                conditions.   Two weeks prior to the accident federal in-
                spectors  found  several safety  violations.   Mine officials
                state that none of the violations were serious and  most
                had been fixed before the accident. The  cause of the sud-
                den gas accumulation is under investigation.  The Pasta
                de Conchos mine initiated a degasification program in the
                early 1990s but could not use or sell  the resulting gas be-
                cause  of Mexican law prohibiting all entities besides the
                state oil and gas monopoly from profiting on the resource.
                In response to  the tragedy, the Mexican  legislature has
                acted quickly to overturn  this regulation.  The new law,
                which was awaiting Senate approval when this article  went
                to press, could  provide an added incentive for mines to
                practice drainage in the future.

Spring 2006
Page 6
                                      COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                                         M I T H * N t
M2M Update,
continued from page 1

UNECE Task Force on Mine Safety
Launches Case Studies
The  UNECE Task  Force  on  Mine
Safety was created to help clarify the
benefits of methane  recovery  as  a
critical  element of  improving  mine
safety. At the January meeting in Ge-
neva, the Task Force resolved to de-
velop  a series of case studies that
would provide concrete examples il-
lustrating the range of conditions that
occur in gassy coal mines, the  tech-
nologies that have been implemented
and their applicability for specific con-
ditions, and the  social and economic
impacts of  methane-related explo-
sions and accidents.   The goal of the
case studies will be to identify best
practices that result  in beneficial so-
cial and economic outcomes for gassy
coal  mines.   Case  studies in the
United  States, Russia, and  Kazakh-
stan are being undertaken and devel-

Extended Dates for the Coal Tech-
nical Subcommittee Meeting
The next Coal Technical Subcommit-
tee meeting  is fast approaching, and
planning  has  been   underway for
months to  ensure  a dynamic and in-
formative event.  The  Subcommittee
meeting will take place over one and
a half days, May 22 to 23, at the Bry-
ant Conference Center in Tuscaloosa,
Alabama in conjunction with the  2006
International  Coalbed Methane Sym-
posium (May 22-26,  2006). An  addi-
tional day has been added to focus on
presentations from the World  Bank
and other multilateral financial institu-
tions on  acquiring funding  for coal
mine methane projects.  The meeting
will also include a presentation  from
GE Jenbacher on  abandoned  mine
methane projects  in Europe  and an
update from  the Administrative  Sup-
port Group  (ASG).   The  Sub-
committee  will discuss its pro-
gress on the Action Plan de-
veloped at the  November
2005 meeting in Argentina
and will hear from  coun-   ^L I
try representatives and  project  net-
work members about their activities,
priorities, and  needs. This  is your
opportunity  to  influence  the  action
items and next steps for the subcom-
mittee!  Please join us for this impor-
tant   meeting.   h 11 p : / /

The other Methane to Markets sec-
tors are planning  exciting subcom-
mittee meeting events as well.  The
Oil and Gas Subcommittee will con-
vene on April  27 in Villahermosa,
Mexico.  The Landfill sector will hold
its subcommittee meeting on  May 12
in Cologne, Germany in conjunction
with the 2006 Carbon Expo.
events/index, htm

2007 Methane to Markets Partner-
ship Expo
Plans  are   underway  for  the M2M
Partnership Expo to  be  held during
the second  half of 2007.  This event
will serve to highlight project opportu-
nities,  successes,  and methane  re-
covery  and  use technologies  across
all Partnership sectors.  The Expo
Committee is working hard to finalize
details  on  the  date  and location—
stay tuned!

Two M2M  Funding Opportunities
Still Open
Two grant  opportunities  are giving
priority to projects that meet the crite-
ria for  inclusion in the  Methane to
Markets Partnership.  The  Interna-
tional Utility Efficiency Partnerships
(IUEP)  announced a 2006 Request
for Proposals (RFP) for  developing
and implementing international  en-
ergy efficiency projects and methane
reduction projects  that will result  in
the reduction, avoidance, or seques-
tration of greenhouse gases (GHG).
The RFP will provide funding for ap-
 proximately 10 to 15 GHG reduction
   projects  with  a  total value of
k      $4,000,000 including a 50/50
       cost share requirement.  The
                      Methane  to  Markets
RFP is open through  April 20, 2006.
Projects awarded  under this  year's
RFP will  be those  that demonstrate
quantifiable emissions reductions that
can be immediately implemented in
host countries.  In addition, USAID's
Global  Development Alliance  (GDA)
has called for the submission  of con-
cept papers that  propose innovate
approaches to  supporting  the core
Methane to Markets activities.  Pro-
posals are being solicited for Mexico,
Ukraine, Brazil,  Columbia, India, and
Nigeria.  The deadline for submission
is September 30, 2006.  The number
and value of grant awards will be de-
termine by the Mission Staff in each

United States and Mexico Pledge to
Reduce GHG Emissions
On  March 24,  2006,  U.S.  EPA,
USAID, and the Mexican Secretariat
of  Environment and  Natural Re-
sources  (SEMARNAT) took  a con-
crete step towards the implementation
of methane utilization projects in Mex-
ico. At a ceremony presided over by
U.S. EPA  Deputy Administrator Mar-
cus Peacock, USAID Acting Adminis-
trator Frederick Schieck, and SEMAR-
NAT Undersecretary  Jose   Ramon
Ardavm  Ituarte, the three agencies
signed a Letter of Cooperation stating
their commitment  to  collaborate  on
Methane to Markets activities in Mex-
ico. Under the terms the  letter of co-
operation, U.S. EPA, USAID, and SE-
MARNAT will work together to further
the  Partnership's mission by sharing
and expanding the use of technolo-
gies to recover and use methane gas
currently  released from  natural gas
and  oil  systems,  landfills,  under-
ground  coal mines,  and agricultural
operations.  In his remarks, Undersec-
retary Ituarte  specifically  mentioned
the  recent  coal mine explosion  in
Coahuila  that killed 65  miners and
injured 8. He indicated that legislation
is under consideration by the Mexican
Senate to  address current regulatory
barriers to CMM project development
in order to decrease the likelihood of
such a tragedy in the future.

Spring 2006
Page 7
                                      COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                 CMM/CBM News
India  Offers Blocks for Coalbed
Methane Exploration and Develop-
The Indian government will offer 10
coal-field blocks for coalbed methane
exploration and development under a
third  round  of international bidding.
Since  the  first two rounds of interna-
tional  bidding for CBM blocks in 2001
and 2003, significant finds have been
reported in coal blocks in eastern and
central India. The government is of-
fering  a  7-year tax  holiday starting
from   the  date  of  gas  production.
Other incentives  include freedom to
sell gas in domestic markets at mar-
ket rates,  zero customs  duty on op-
eration-related imports, and no partici-
pating  interest for the government.
The blocks  are  located  in Madhya
Pradesh,  Chattisgarh,  Jharkhand,
West  Bengal, Andhra Pradesh  and
Rajasthan.  The Notice Inviting Offer
and the Bid  Evaluation Criteria have
been posted and  can be accessed at

Canadian Coalbed Activity
According to industry estimates, Ca-
nadian natural  gas production  is ex-
pected to  rise as much as 20% from
the current 17 billion  cubic feet per
day to 20 bcf per day.  Most  of the
new production is expected to come
from coalbed methane and from con-
ventional natural gas production in the
Arctic.   Coalbed methane will grow
from a sector in its infancy to a major
natural gas  contributor.  Jon  Baker,
CEO of Trident Exploration Corp., one
of Canada's  largest CBM companies,
predicts that CBM will likely represent
10%  of Canadian  gas  volumes  by
2010 from two main plays: the Horse-
shoe Canyon and the Mannville.   If
the increased production  is realized,
Canada would solidify its rank as the
world's No.  3 natural gas  producer
behind Russia and the  United States.

TerraWest  Strikes  CBM  Deal  in
TerraWest Energy Corp. has struck a
deal to develop coalbed methane gas
deposits on 650 square kilometers in
the Junggar coal basin in the western
Chinese province of Xinjiang. This is
TerraWest's   first  production-sharing
contract with China United  Coalbed
Methane  Corp. Ltd (CUCBM).   The
contract, signed in Beijing  on Decem-
ber 30, 2005, also involves Chinese
oil giant PetroChina, which holds the
original natural gas lease for the prop-
erty.  Under the deal, TerraWest is
responsible for all of the  exploration
spending  with the project  partners
sharing commercial development and
production costs.  PetroChina has a
48  percent  interest  in the  project,
while TerraWest holds 47 percent and
CUCBM about 5 percent.

Ukraine's Cabinet Approved Jl Pro-
Ukraine's  Cabinet officially approved
a set of Joint Implementation (Jl) pro-
cedures   in   Decree
#206 on February  22,
2006.   The  legisla-
tion, which was sub-
sequently  signed  by
the Ukrainian Prime
Minister, formally  out-
lines   the   Federal
Government's  proce-
dures  of  considera-
tion,  approval   and
implementation    for
domestic  companies
to carry  out Jl  pro-
jects  under  Article 6
of the Kyoto Protocol.
The official procedure
outlines  a  two-step
process for the approval of Jl projects
by  Ukraine's  Ministry  for  Environ-
mental Protection (MENP).  First, a
project developer must submit  an ini-
tial application on the claimed amount
of Emission  Reduction Units (ERUs).
The  MENP  is  allowed  up to  one
month to consider the application and
issue either  a Letter of Endorsement
(LoE) or a written reason for refusal.
If the application is accepted, the pro-
ject developer must then  submit addi-
tion  application material  including a
baseline  study, ERU calculations, a
monitoring  plan,  an  environmental
impact assessment and  a project fi-
nancing  plan.   Within 30  days,  the
MENP  will submit either a  Letter of
Approval (LoA) or reason for refusal.
The  final application must be submit-
ted  with  the determination of  one of
the  verifying companies  that  is  ac-
credited  by the Jl Supervisory Com-

This important step opens the way for
Ukrainian companies,  including  coal
mines  interested in  developing  coal
mine methane recovery and  utilization
projects,  to  take  advantage  of  the
Kyoto  Protocol's  financial  support.
Currently, Ukraine  ranks 4th  in  the
world in methane emissions from coal

Spring 2006
Page 8
                                    COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                       M I T H * N t
Safety, continued from page 5

have been added requiring operators to train  miners to
transfer from one SCSR to another. This training will be
reinforced during mine emergency  evacuation  drills held
on a quarterly basis.
4) Accident Notification: MSHA requires mine operators to
inform MSHA of an accident within 15 minutes of its occur-
rence so that coordination of appropriate mine  rescue or
other emergency response can  begin as soon as possible.

In developing  its standard, MSHA followed the  lead of
West Virginia, where  lawmakers  passed a new mine-
safety bill on January 23 requiring companies to use com-
munication and tracking devices, store extra air  packs un-
derground and report accidents within 15 minutes. Other
states are debating similar measures.  Lastly,  MSHA in-
tends to revise its 25 year old penalty structure  and in-
crease fines in an effort to curb  safety violations.

Though the US coal  industry has a relatively low mortality
rate among top coal-producing  nations, US miners are still
challenged by a number of safety  issues.  Several inci-
dents  in addition to the Sago accident have hit the coal
mining industry already this year.  During the first two
months of 2006, nine additional fatalities in four states
were reported due to  mine fires, transportation accidents,
and equipment mishandling. This range of risks reinforces
that coal mines  must monitor more than just methane lev-
els to ensure safety.

The recent  focus on  domestic mine safety has inspired
regulatory reform, increased inspections, and  numerous
investigations.  This  attention  brings methane's role in
mine safety to the forefront since methane accumulations,
if not managed and avoided, can have devastating results.
CMOP works with coal mines in the US and all over the
world  to  recover methane,  mitigating greenhouse gas
emissions as well as  promoting use of this clean-burning
energy resource.   Management  of CMM can positively
influence mine safety because drainage removes methane
from the coal seam. As this year's accidents are investi-
gated  and regulatory improvement continues, innovative
and effective ways to manage methane  will become  in-
creasingly relevant to the coal mining industry.

       The CMOP Website now features quar-
      terly, regional electricity and natural gas
              prices as reported by EIA.
                     Check it out!
           Address inquiries about the Coalbed Meth-
           ane Extra or about the USEPA Coalbed
           Methane Outreach Program to:

           Pamela Franklin
           Phone: 202-343-9476
           Barbora Jemelkova
           Phone: 202-343-9899

           Our mailing address is:
           U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
           Coalbed Methane Outreach Program,
           1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
           Washington, DC 20460

           Visit our Web site at:
                             What do you want to know about?
   If you have suggestions or requests for future CBM Extra Content, please drop us a line.

Spring 2006
Page 9
                                    COALBED METHANE EXTRA
                                      M I T H * N t
                                Upcoming  CMM/CBM Events
North American Coalbed Methane Spring Forum
18-19 April, 2006
Hilton Garden Inn-Southpointe, Canonsburg, PA
Contact: K. Aminian, Coordinator
Invitation Letter and Registration Form at

Indonesia Coalbed Methane Development: A Future
Alternative Energy for the Region
18-19 April 2006
The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone:  +62 21 837 95203 or 83757
Fax: + 62 21 837 95302
Website:  indocbm.html

Mining  Energy Outlook: Economic Barriers and Solu-
tions to Energy Issues in Mining
15th Annual Mineral Economics & Management Society
(MEMS) Conference
19-21 April 2006
Golden  Hotel, Golden, Colorado

International Mining Health and Safety Symposium
20-22 April 2006
Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, West Virginia
Phone:  (800) 678-6882

Coal Seam Methane - Coal Mine Methane Summit
27-28 April 2006
Marriott Hotel, Brisbane, Australia
Tel: (02) 9923 5090
Website: CSM/CMM Summit 2006

Climate Change Technology: Engineering Challenges
and Solutions in the 21st Century
9-12 May 2006
Ottawa, Canada

International Workshop-Coal for Sustainable Energy:
Clean Development & Climate Change
16-17 May 2006
New Delhi, India
Phone:  +44 (0) 20 8940 0477
Fax: +44 (0) 20 8940 9624
Contact: Ms. Ivana Jackson, World Coal Institute
2006 International Coalbed Methane Symposium
22-25 May 2006
The Bryant Conference Center, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Fax: 205-348-9276

Methane to Markets Coal Technical Subcommittee
Meeting (held in Conjunction with the Coalbed Meth-
ane Symposium)
22-23 May 2006
The Bryant Conference Center, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
www. meth a n eto ma rkets. o rg

Linking Schemes: Potential Impacts of Linking the
European Union Emissions Trading System with
Emerging Carbon Markets in other Countries
29-30 May 2006
Fondation Universitaire, Brussels, Belgium
Contact: Dr. Ralf Schiile

11th US/North American Mine Ventilation Symposium
5-7 June 2006
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Contact: Rachel Altemus, Penn State University
Tel:+1  814-865-3439

World Energy Council Regional Energy Forum -
FOREN 2006
11-15 June 2006
Neptun, Romania
Phone: (+4021) 346.43.30;  (+4021) 346.47.31
Fax: (+4021) 346.45.46

Coal Mine Methane: Recovery, Utilization, Investment
19-21 June 2006
Kemerovo, Russia

8th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Con-
trol Technologies
19-23 June 2006
Trondheim, Norway