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Kazakhstan International Activities

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The Global Methane Initiative Exit EPA is an international initiative that advances cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source.

Kazakhstan ranks tenth in the world in coal production, supplying 46.5 percent of its total energy consumption in 2007 and 80 percent of its power generation. Kazakhstan also exported 26.4 percent of its coal production, primarily to Russia and Ukraine. Kazakhstan's coal mining industry was restructured and largely privatized between 1995 and 1997. Since that period, annual production has steadily increased to rates above 100 million tonnes (Mmt), 30 percent of which is produced from underground mines in the Karaganda basin.

Kazakh underground coal mines are particularly gassy and prone to violent gas outbursts. The gas contents in these mines average between 18 and 24 m3/tonne, with specific emissions averaging 33 m3/tonne. Current drained methane emissions are estimated to be approximately 130 million m3, annually. However, the level of methane utilization is very low, only about 25 million m3 annually. In addition to its active underground mines, at least 14 underground coal mines in Kazakhstan have been abandoned since 1996. All are considered gassy.

EPA estimates that Kazakhstan's atmospheric coal mine methane (CMM) releases will grow as its underground coal production increases over time and as deeper, gassier seams are exploited. With the Kazakh government's focus on establishing an attractive investment climate for CBM and CMM resource projects, CMM has the potential to make a significant impact on the country's energy supply needs.

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