03.06.2019 PGNiG and the PGI-NRI awarded the Teraz Polska Badge of Quality

The technology for pre-mining extraction of coal bed methane using hydraulic fracturing was awarded the prestigious Teraz Polska Badge of Quality in the 12th edition of the Innovation Projects Competition. The method was developed by a consortium comprising Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) and the Polish Geological Institute – National Research Institute (PGI-NRI).

The award-winning project is the first of its kind in Europe. Its innovative approach consists in the extraction of coal bed methane using hydraulic fracturing. The application of this method would enable commercial production of natural gas from unconventional deposits, such as coal-bearing rock, while reducing methane explosion risk in hard coal mines.

"The award of the Teraz Polska Badge of Quality will motivate us to continue working on the Geo-Metan project, which promises to tangibly enhance Poland’s energy security, improve the working conditions of miners and help protect the natural environment. The award also demonstrates that cooperation between businesses and research institutions, such as PGNiG and the PGI-NRI, can be very fruitful," said Piotr Woźniak, President of the PGNiG Management Board. "I would like to congratulate and thank all those involved in the project. Poland has many prominent geology experts, who can be role models for others in their work," he added.

"I am happy that our years-long research into coal bed methane earned us the prestigious Teraz Polska Badge of Quality this year, which is very special for us as it marks the 100th anniversary of our Institute," said Agnieszka Wójcik, Director of the PGI-NRI. "According to estimates, commercial production of methane from coal deposits of the Upper Silesia Coal Basin, supported by state-of-the-art technologies, could amount to approximately 1–1.5 bcm a year. To date, we have been able to utilise only about 200 mcm yearly of methane captured in Polish mines. The remaining volumes (almost 800 mcm per year) are released into the atmosphere during coal extraction," added Agnieszka Wójcik.

Geo-Metan project
The award-winning technology is being tested by PGNiG and the PGI-NRI as part of the Geo-Metan project. The work began in autumn 2016 in Gilowice, the municipality of Miedźna, within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin.

The results of production tests are very promising, as methane flows increased several dozen times after a hydrofracking treatment. The maximum daily flow from the Gilowice-1 well was 10 kcm, with more than 1 mcm of methane extracted in total during several months of testing. For the first time in Poland, the volumes of extracted coal bed methane were sufficient to make its commercial production viable.

CBM is one of the key alternative sources of natural gas in Poland. The PGI-NRI has estimated producible CBM reserves in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin at approximately 170 bcm. Poland’s total methane resources are estimated at 230–250 bcm.

Teraz Polska
The purpose of the Teraz Polska awards is to select the best products and services, which – for their quality, technological solutions used and excellent properties in practical applications – stand out on the market as exemplars for others. The competition is organised by the Polish Promotional Emblem Foundation. Meetings of the judging panel are presided over by Michał Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 2007–2015.