Recent coal bed methane (CBM) success in North America has been due to a number of coincidental factors such as the existence of extended coal basins, strong gas prices, a dense distribution network, and little competition with declining conventional gas production. Strong demand for both oil and gas is pushing the rest of the world (especially Australia, China and India) to speed up CBM developments. However favorable geological factors such as occurrence of thick gas-rich coal seams with good porosity/permeability characteristics do not necessarily coexist with an ideal business environment in many of these countries. Outside of the North America, Australia has the most commercially advanced CBM industry. The country contains about 30 coal-bearing basins, mostly Permian and Mesozoic in age. Based on IHS data, proven reserves in Australia have been estimated at nearly 9 tcf. In China, an estimate size of CBM resources is very impressive at about 1,200 tcf. The question is: What portion of these resources is commercially recoverable? Today most of the CBM projects in China are in exploration or initial development phases. Key International CBM players in China are Chevron, Greka, BP, Far East Energy, ConocoPhillips and Canadian companies - Terra, Ivana, Verona. India is also making an effort to attract both local and international companies to explore CBM potential in the country. Three bid rounds held in 2001, 2003 and 2006 were successful. Under the latest 2006 bid round, CBM exploration blocks were awarded to Australian, U.S. and European companies. Indonesia is currently preparing new legislation regarding the exploitation of CBM. The new legislation is expected to be completed in 2007. The government had been expected to open to tender the first acreage specifically designed for CBM exploration and production in order to exploit Indonesia's as yet untapped resources of CBM, estimated at 453 tcf. Both Vietnam and Mongolia signed CBM contracts with Canadian companies. Definitely these countries have geologic potential for CBM, however, lack of infrastructure and uncertain gas price raise many questions. From a commercial standpoint, West Europe is favorable for CBM developments; however, environmental issues and lack of gas-saturated coal seams extended over large areas may slow down full-scale production from coal beds. Much less is known about CBM potential in Eastern Europe including Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. In several Latin American countries CBM exploration efforts are in their initial phases. Some countries are offering incentives to CBM investors, which make CBM exploration and production a feasible alternative to conventional gas. On the other side, there are fiscal regimes designed for conventional hydrocarbons that do not provide investors reasonable returns under traditionally low gas prices in those countries.

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