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SWLGS Luncheon Topics

Updated Oct. 29, 2005

November, 2005

A Brief Discussion of CoalBed Methane (CBM) in Louisiana
F. Clayton Breland, Jr.


Abstract Summary
Coalbed methane (CBM), for years considered a hazard in the coal mining business, became an unconventional energy resource in the early 1970’s as mine operators sought ways to remove and vent the hazard to mining operations. Today, CBM has become a hot topic of conversation among many oil and gas professionals. CBM makes up 8% of domestic natural gas production and rate of production is increasing annually as CBM becomes an important component of the overall energy source mix (Energy Information Administration, 2001). CBM production has been established in a number of basins regionally in the U.S. from Paleozoic coals in the east and from younger, thicker coals in the west. However, very limited drilling activity has been conducted in the Gulf Coast Tertiary Basin to specifically define the CBM resource. The age, thickness, and quality of the Gulf Coast coals have generally been considered a negative contributing factor in the development of the resource. With the success of CBM in the Tertiary aged coals of the Powder River basin, independent producers have begun to take a closer look at the CBM potential of the Gulf Coast and in particular in Louisiana.

Biographical Sketch
Clayton Breland grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where upon high school graduation entered Millsaps College in Jackson, MS and was granted a B.S. in geology in 1970. He received an M.S. in geology from the University of Mississippi, Oxford in 1972. He completed work on his Ph.D. in geology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1980, supported, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation and a fellowship from the Gulf Oil Foundation. Breland also holds a B.B.A. in Managerial Finance from University of Mississippi, Oxford awarded to him in 1991. He began a career in the “oil patch”, first with Gulf Oil in Oklahoma City, OK, and later with Unocal in Houston, TX and Pennington Oil in Baton Rouge, LA. Breland is presently with the Basin Research Energy Section of the Louisiana Geological Survey at Louisiana State University, where he is involved, among other things, in research in coalbed methane in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.