TAIYUAN, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- The coal-rich Chinese province of Shanxi plans to extract 6.6 billion cubic meters of coalbed methane in 2019, said local authorities Tuesday.
The northern province will speed up exploration and development of coalbed methane and increase proven reserves and production, said Zhou Jianchun, director of the Shanxi provincial department of natural resources.
Ten major coalbed methane projects will be built this year, adding 2 billion cubic meters to the annual production capacity, said Zhou.
Meanwhile, authorities will also increase output at existing facilities, Zhou said.
Last year, it extracted nearly 5.7 billion cubic meters of coalbed methane and used 5.4 billion cubic meters, accounting for 90 percent of the country's total consumption.
The province has an estimated 8.3 trillion cubic meters of coalbed methane within 2,000 meters below ground and dominates the industry with 96 percent of the country's total capacity. Its proven reserves reached 667.5 billion cubic meters by the end of 2018.
Shanxi's ambitious plan in extracting coalbed methane came as the area seeks to curb pollution and reduce heavy reliance on coal.
Coalbed methane is a byproduct of coal, of which utilization can help reduce risks in mining, cut greenhouse gas emissions and ease gas shortages.