United Nations Development Programme

Russian Federation


06.04.2011 The UNDP/GEF Project to eliminate barriers to coal mine methane (CMM) development in Russia: summary of results

The Project Russia Removing Barriers to Coal Mine Methane Recovery and Utilization funded by the Global Environment Facility has been implemented in Russia through UNDP since 2004 and is close to its completion. Results from the Project Final Evaluation give the project a positive assessment and confirm that the Project proved to be instrumental in initiating coal mine methane (CMM) development within Russia, both through direct funding of CMM recovery and utilization (CMMRU) technology demonstration at a Kuzbass coal mine, as well as providing the catalyst for other coal companies to develop their own CMM projects.


The initial project design called for the formation and sustainable operation of the Coal Mine Recovery and Utilisation Company (CMMRUC). The Project has accomplished local capacity building by developing the CMMRUC out of NPO Uglemetan (the leading Russian non-profit organization in CMM-related activities) and provided viable capitalisation for the CMMRUC in order to expand the range of services which are now offered by the Company.  The latest added service capability relates to geophysical surveying that can define areas of high methane concentration in the coal seams or fractured zones in the seams that can release higher CMM flows into the mines. Now the Company can provide full project support for CMM development including project planning, project documentation, utilization technology selection, and operating project monitoring plus the newly developed geophysical seismic surveying. 

The UNDP/GEF Project Final Evaluation Report confirmed that the CMMRUC has been able to achieve numerous positive results and has laid the foundation for CMM development in Russia.  The Company has been involved in, and has implemented or catalysed, every major demonstration of CMM recovery and utilization (CMMRU) that has occurred in Kuzbass in the last eight years - the time period during which this project has been active.

There are several tangible developments that have occurred at coal mines in Kuzbass as a result of this Project.  The CMM Modular Boiler System demonstration at SDS-Ugols Krasnogorskaya Mine, which was directly funded by this UNDP/GEF Project, catalysed a much larger-scale CMMRU project development by SUEK Siberian Coal&Energy Company, one of the key Russias energy market players. The CMMRUC helped prepare the PDD for SUEKs planned CMMRU development at six of the Companys mines. The CMMRUC also assisted in the installation of 4 MW of CMM-fueled power generators at the Kirova Mine.  SUEK subsequently modified a coal-fired boiler to utilize CMM at another of its mines.  Both of these efforts were financed by SUEK.

 The first phase of the SUEK 6-mine program (with projected cumulative carbon emission reductions of 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent) was recently approved as a joint implementation (JI) project by the Economic Development Ministry of Russia and Sberbank.  This project was among the first group of JI projects ever approved in Russia.  Once the balance of the SUEK program is completed it will reduce carbon emissions by five million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The UNDP/GEF Project had a variety of outcomes which supported CMM work but were not actually performed at coal mines.  Within the projects regulatory component, CMMRUC accomplished the task of breaking new ground in being able to obtain permits and to overcome the lack of defined legal and regulatory hurdles that face CMM projects in Kuzbass.  Examples included getting the demonstration project design duly approved and getting permission to modify the design to allow use of a smaller vacuum-pump station than originally permitted. During the early years of implementation the Project staff worked with the regional government to establish a tax incentive which includes coal mine methane recovery and utilization projects within the framework of innovative activities in Kuzbass that are eligible for preferential taxation. Also, CMMRUC has recently succeeded in registering their coal gas desorption methodology on a national level.

The Kemerovo Regional Administration has been very supportive of the Project and helped support CMM development in Kuzbass in many ways not only in calling on the mines to improve their attention to safety issues, but in trying to promote innovative uses of CMM from coal mines. The Ministry of Economic Development has provided key administrative and technical support to the Project since its very beginning.

The existing and planned coal mine recovery and utilisation projects are the best evidence of a changed attitude of the coal industry towards the opportunities afforded by CMM utilization. Declared plans of the Kemerovo Regional Administration, coal companies and the CMMRUC service company make one believe that the active development in this field will continue.


The UNDP/GEF CMM Project demonstrated the model where GEF resources were provided to stimulate the participation of coal companies in JI project development in the field of coal mine methane recovery and utilisation, thus facilitating access to the international carbon markets and the development of the coal mine methane recovery and utilisation.

 For more information please contact:

UNDP Project support office in the Russian Federation +7 (495) 787 21 00, www.undp.ru

NPO Uglemetan +7 (3842) 39-42-39, www.uglemetan.ru


UNDP is the UNs global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As
they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.

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