China's coal bed methane (CBM) producers and coal miners will be encouraged to work together to produce more methane gas as a clean energy source while also ensuring mine safety.
"The government will revise the existing Mineral Resources Law, which will cover a change of licensing for CBM production and coal mining," said Chen Xianda, deputy director of the department of geological perambulation with the Ministry of Land and Resources.
"The revision will be a piece of good news for CBM producers," Chen said.
The Ministry of Land and Resources has provided separate licenses to CBM producers and coal miners.
However, since local governments also have the authority to issue coal-mining licenses, CBM producers have suffered from coal-mining companies that vented the gas first as a safety precaution before allowing CBM producers to capture it as a clean energy source.
"We are looking forward to the tough role the government will play in the coordination of coal miners and CBM producers," said Sun Maoyuan, executive chairman of China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd (CUCBM).
"As the country's major coal bed methane producer, the company is facing a good opportunity. It will accelerate gas production in the next few years by also working together with foreign companies," Sun said.
The company now operates more than 1,440 CBM drainage wells in 15 provinces with an exploration investment of 4.5 billion yuan ($660 million). It has partnerships with 17 foreign companies that have attracted foreign investments of 3.4 billion yuan ($500 million).