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Coal mine methane emissions report 2022: coal bigger emitter than oil or gas

The New report by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) is the first estimate of global coal mine methane emissions at the asset level. The key findings of the report are:

- The world's coal mines emit more annually than gas or oil production. Emissions from oil are 39 million tons annually, from gas – 45 million tons, and from coal – 52.3 million tons. There are also several coal mine projects which are being developed, and if they go ahead, this will release a further 11.3 million tons of methane per year.

- China is the main source of global coal mine methane emissions (CO2e), accounting for 73% of global coal mine methane emissions (3176 Mt CO2e).  Shanxi province alone emits about as much mine methane as the rest of the world combined.  On the second place in the top worst emitters are the United States (240 Mt CO2e), followed by Russia (194 Mt CO2e), Australia (171) and South Africa (101).

Richards Bay Coal Terminal, South Africa

Source: CreamerMedia

- The second largest coal producer in the world, India, which mainly uses openpit coal mining, ranks 6th. India demonstrates that not only the amount of coal mined, but primarily the type and depth of mining affects the amount of methane emissions.  For example, due to deep mines and correspondingly high pressure and gas content, Poland (69 Mt CO2e), which ranks 7th in this list, emits more methane than Indonesia (58 Mt CO2e), with the latter producing more than 5 times as much coal.

- The five coal mines that emit the most methane in the world are in China – Buertai Coal Mine (Inner Mongolia), Daliuta Coal Mine (Shaanxi) Jinjie Coal Mine (Shaanxi), Ningtiaota Coal Mine (Shaanxi), Suancigou Coal Mine (Inner Mongolia).

- Outside of China, in the rest of the world, the coal mines that emit the most methane are KPC Operation (Indonesia), LW Bogdanka (Poland), Yalevsky Mine (Russia), Bogatyr Mine (Kazakhstan), Grootegeluk Mine (South Africa), Oaky Creek Mine (Australia) and No. 7 Coal Mine (United States).

- Looking at corporate emissions, in total, 50 companies from 12 countries China, USA, India, UK, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, North Korea, South Africa and Vietnam - are responsible for more than half (30 million tons) of global coal mine methane emissions. China's state-owned enterprises are overwhelmingly the main contributors to methane emissions, with the 10 largest among them accounting for 14.5 Mt of coal mine methane emissions. These include the National Energy Investment Group, State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), Shanxi Coking Coal Group, Yankuang Group etc. The only non-Chinese state-owned enterprise in the top 10 is Coal India, the world's largest coal producer.

- As noted above, underground mines are responsible for the most methane emissions (85%), ahead of surface and mixed mines (15%).

Simplified scheme of methane utilization methods in coalmines and seams

A1. Ventilation air  A2. Coal cutting machine A3. Gob area  A4. Ventilation air methane A5. Ventilation shaft  A6. VAM oxidizer A7. Coal waste heap  A8. Heat energy A9. In-situ users
B1. Production well gob gas  B2. Drainage pipeline B3. Shaft sinking B4. Mine koper  B5. Gas purification unit  B6. Compressor station B7. Gas generator B8. Transformer
C1. Vertical well  C2. Horizontal well C3. Gas purification unit  C4. Compressor station C5. Gas pipeline