Sie sind auf Seite 1von 192

WATERJETTING: A NEW DRILLING TECHNIQUE IN COALBED METHANE RESERVOIRS

By

GBENGA M. FUNMILAYO, B.S., M.S.

A DISSERTATION

IN

PETROLEUM ENGINEERING

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Award of the Degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

IN

PETROLEUM ENGINEERING

Approved

Marshall Watson Chair of Committee

Lloyd Heinze

Malgorzata Ziaja

Waylon House

Fred Hartmeister Dean of Graduate School

August 2010

Copyright 2010, Gbenga M. Funmilayo

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Marshall Watson, Chairman of my committee, for his valuable

advice and suggestions that helped me throughout the entire work. Beyond his advice,

he provided all the finances for the field tests leading to this report. I also want to thank

Dr. Lloyd Heinze for being so patient with me during my candidature in the department

of Petroleum Engineering, and for his meritorious guidance during the last stage of my

research activities leading to this dissertation. I am honored to have Dr. Malgorzata

Ziaja and Dr. Waylon House serve as members of my committee.

The research part of this dissertation would not have been possible, were it not for the

contributions of Doug Wright from StoneAge Inc., Joe Straeter from Barger Engineering,

Mark Lewis and his crew members from Bodine Services of Evansville, and Bill Gunn

from United Minerals Inc. Thanks to you all!

This dissertation is dedicated to my God, my mother

Victoria Funmilayo, my wife

Olukemi Funmilayo, and to my children: Similoluwa, Mayowa, Oluranti, and Oluleke; for

their

supports

and

developments.

inspirations

during

the

ii

“thick”

and

the

“thin”

of

my

career

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………………………

ii

ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………………

v

LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………………………vi

LIST OF FIGURES

vii

NOMENCLATURE……

……………………………………….……….……….……

……

ix

CHAPTER

I. INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………… 1

1.0

Overview of Coalbed Methane Reservoir…………… ……………………

1

1.1

Potential of Coal Bed Methane……………………… ……………………….1

1.1.1 Global Potential of Coalbed Methane…………………………………2

1.1.2 U.S. Potential of Coalbed Methane…………………….…………… 3

1.2

The Geology of Coalbed Methane Reservoir……………… ……………….4

1.2.1

Geochemical Transformation of Coal………… ……………………11

1.3

The Reservoir Engineering of Coalbed Methane………………………… 14

1.3.1 Coalbed Methane versus Conventional Reservoirs……………… 15

1.3.2 Properties of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs……………… ……….17

1.4

Drilling and Completions in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs……………… 31

1.5

Production Engineering of Coalbed Methane Reservoir………………

42

1.5.1 Water Production………………………………………………… … 44

1.5.2 Gas Production………………………………………………………

44

1.5.3 Enhanced Coalbed Methane Production…………………………

47

1.5.4 Well Stimulation/Hydraulic Fracturing……………………………

48

iii

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.6 The Illinois Coal Basin……………………………………………………… 50

1.7 Current Challenges in Coalbed Methane Production… ………………

54

II. LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………….………… 57

 

2.0

Review of Waterjet Technology……………………………………………

57

2.1

Background……………

…………………………………………………….57

2.2

Design of Waterjet Systems…………………………………………………63

2.3

Mechanism of Rock Failure……………………

…………………….…

72

2.4

Drilling of Horizontal Well by Waterjet Technology………………………74

2.5

Current Research versus Previous Works……… ……………………

92

III.

FIELD TESTING

 

97

3.0 Equipment Rig-Up…………………………………………………………

97

3.1 Equipment and Material Specifications………………………….………107

3.2 First Round of Field Test…………………………….…………………….117

3.3 Second Round of Field Test…………… ………………………………

120

IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS…………………………………….………… 124

4.0 Accomplishments………………………… ………………………… 124

4.1 Results………………………………………………………………………124

4.2 Discussions………………………………………

……………………….148

V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION………………………………… 163

5.0 Conclusions………………………………………………………………

163

5.1 Recommendations……………………………………….……………

166

REFERENCES……………………………………… …………………………….…

169

iv

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

ABSTRACT

Applications of waterjeting to drill horizontal wells for the purpose of degassing coalbeds

prior to mining operations and for creating rock-bolts in coalbeds, have long been

established. The closest application of waterjet technology in oil and gas industry has

been in the development of jet-assisted drill bits. This dissertation investigates the use

of high pressure waterjet technology for drilling horizontal wells in coalbed methane

reservoirs.

Horizontal Well technology has been in existence for many years. It has found

successful applications in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The major

difference between the conventional horizontal well technology and the proposed

waterjet horizontal well technology is the use of a waterjet to drill, as opposed to a bit.

Secondly, the components of their drillstrings are different.

This research aims at investigating the use of high pressure waterjet technology as a

new and a more cost effective technique to drill horizontal wells in coalbed methane

reservoirs. The ability of high pressure hose to replace the conventional metallic drill

pipe will be investigated. The use of a nozzle to drill horizontal wells in coalbed methane

reservoirs, as opposed to a bit will also be investigated. Optimization of tool (nozzle) for

best drilling practices will be a major objective of the field trials. The various factors that

control the direction of the nozzle, during drilling operations, will form part of the

investigation. Finally, sensitivity studies will be carried out to determine the significance

of all the variables that contribute to the impact force; that is, the force from jets of water

that cuts the rocks (coalbeds).

v

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1.1:

Characteristics and CBM production potential of coal basin……………….9

Table 1.2:

ASTM Rank of Coal…………………………………………………………… 14

Table 1.3:

Coalbed methane vs. conventional gas reservoirs………………………

16

Table 1.4:

Properties of Coalbed Methane & their Sources……………………………18

Table 1.5:

Lithostratigraphy of the Pennsylvanian System in the Illinois Basin…… 54

Table 2.1:

Difference between conventional and waterjet horizontal well technology……………………………………………………………………

94

Table 4.1:

Test A: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 1………………

138

Table 4.2:

Test B: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 2………………

139

Table 4.3:

Test C: Measurements recorded for tool configuration

.139

Table 4.4:

Test D: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 4……………. ….140

Table 4.5:

Test E: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 1…… ………… 141

Table 4.6:

Test F: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 5…… ………….142

Table 4.7:

Test G: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 3……………… 143

Table 4.8:

Test H: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 6 ……………… 144

Table 4.9:

Test I: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 7 ………

……….144

Table 4.10:

Test J: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 4…….…………

145

Table 4.11:

Test K: Measurements recorded for tool configuration 3………….…… 146

Table 4.12:

Effect of orifice size on impact pressure…………………………………

150

Table 4.13:

Effect of pressure on impact pressure……………………………………

151

vi

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1.1:

U.S. Coalbed Methane Resource Map…………………………….………

6

Figure 1.2:

Schematic of the coalification process……………………………………… 8

Figure 1.3:

Cleat systems and permeability anisotropy of a typical coal seam……

22

Figure 1.4:

A typical Isotherm plot…………………………………………………………27

Figure 1.5:

Isotherms for Fruitland and Fort Union coal formations…………………

29

Figure 1.6:

Effective reservoir thickness………………………………………………….30

Figure 1.7:

Pinnate pattern drilling and completions technique…… …………………34

Figure 1.8:

Drilling and Completions method…………………………………………

38

Figure 1.9:

Completions and stimulations methods in the US coal basins…………

40

Figure 1.10: Decision chart for selecting the drilling and completion method……

…42

Figure 2.1:

A typical configuration of waterjet system………………………………… 58

Figure 2.2:

A typical configuration of waterjet system…………………………….…….58

Figure 2.3

Effect of nozzle pressure, stand-off distance, and orifice size on impact pressure……………………………………………………………………… 72

Figure 2.4:

Drillhead that did not require nozzle swivel……………………………… 79

Figure 2.5:

Jet-assisted diamond drill bit…………………………………………

…….80

Figure 2.6:

Drive mechanism for the Petro Jet Multiple Lateral System……

………85

Figure 2.7:

Addition of bent sub in the drillhead……………………………………… 86

Figure 2.8:

Drive mechanism of the round the corner drill………………… ………

89

Figure 2.9:

Equipment layout for the test to verify RTC drilling ability……………… .90

Figure 2.10: Component of the RTC drillhead instrumentation…………………………90

Figure 2.11: Pictorial view of the proposed waterjet horizontal well technology……

vii

95

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Figure 3.1:

Some of the major components of the rig — Waterblaster……………

97

Figure 3.2:

Water truck that supplies the water for the test………………….………

98

Figure 3.3:

Diesel engine than pumps water from the truck to the tank…

…………99

Figure 3.4:

1st & 2nd inlet filters, and water tank…………

………………………

102

Figure 3.5:

Water pump………………………………………………………………… 103

Figure 3.6:

Diesel engine that powers the water pump……………………………

104

Figure 3.7:

Foot valve, a component of the foot dump……………………………… 107

Figure 3.8:

Outlet high pressure and the dump line connections… ……………… 108

Figure 3.9:

Diffuser, with a pressure gauge mounted on it, and whip check……

109

Figure 3.10:

Backhoe, bern, pipe, testing hose, and jetting operations………………112

Figure 3.11:

Nozzle Configuration……………… ………………………………………113

Figure 3.12:

Nozzle Configuration………………

……………………………………

114

Figure 3.13:

Component of BA-PA nozzle.……………………………………………

115

Figure 4.1:

Borehole geometry and changes in the color of returning water……

129

Figure 4.2:

Description of particle sizes……………… ……………………………….130

Figure 4.3:

Measurement of borehole dimensions……………………

…………….131

Figure 4.4:

Feeding of hose into the coal seam during a jetting operation….…

134

Figure 4.5:

Borehole # seventeenth drilled to the depth of 62 ft…… ……….……

135

viii

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

NOMENCLATURE

ASTM = American Society of testing and materials

CBM = Coalbed Methane

DAF = Dry Ash-Free

ECBM = Enhanced Coalbed Methane

EOR = Enhanced Oil Recovery

G

= Gas content of the coal in the formation, scf/ton

G

R = Residual gas of core, scf/ton

G

C = Gas released by the core in the canister, scf/ton

G

L = Lost gas from the core during coring process, scf/ton

G

s = Gas storage capacity, scf/ton

P

= Pressure, psia

P

L = Langmuir pressure, psia

V

L = Dry, ash-free Langmuir volume, scf/ton

a

= Ash content, weigt fraction

w

c = Moisture content, weight fraction

ρ = bulk density, g/cm 3

ρ a = ash density, g/cm 3

ρ o = pure coal density, g/cm 3

ρ w = moisture density, g/cm 3

K anisot = permeability anisotropy (K max /K min )

ix

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

H

h = thickness of the coal seam containing the horizontal wellbore, ft

H

v = sum of all completed seams in a vertical well, ft

r e = drainage radius, ft

r w = wellbore radius, ft

S

= negative vertical skin factor due to stimulation

S

mh = mechanical skin damage to a horizontal well

S

h = negative skin factor due to the horizontal well

S

cah = shape related skin factor (function of drainage shape, well length, H h , and K v /Kh)

given by correlation derived from charts

L = horizontal length of wellbore, ft

W

p = Water required to be produced for gas desorption to commence, bbls

W

i = Water initially in place in the drainage area, bbls

c w = water compressibility, psi -1

c f = formation compressibility, psi -1

p i = Initial reservoir pressure, psia

p d = Desorption pressure as determined by the Langmuir isotherm, psia

G

i = Gas in Place at initial reservoir conditions, Mscf

A

= Drainage area, ac

h

= coal thickness, ft

φ f = Interconnected fracture (effective) porosity, fraction

S

wfi = Interconnected fracture water saturation, fraction

B

gi = Gas formation volume factor at p i , rcf/Mscf

x

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

C gi = Initial sorbed gas concentration, scf/ton, dry, ash-free coal

f a = Average weight fraction of ash, fraction

f m = Average weight fraction of moisture, fraction

43560 = Conversion factor, ft 2 /ac

GIP i = initial gas in place

GIP a = gas in place at abandonment

Rf = Recovery factor, %

V

i = initial volumetric gas content, scf/ton

V

a = abandonment gas content, scf/ton

G p = Methane recoverable reserves, Mscf

MSHA = Mine Safety and Health Administration

WJTA = WaterJet Technology Association

Hp = Horse power

P = pump pressure, psi

Q = flow rate, gpm

P = pressure loss in pipe or hose, psi

d = internal diameter of the pipe/hose, in

L = pipe/hose stretch due to pressure, %

L p = pipe or hose length, ft

P N = pressure at nozzle, psi

P N = pressure loss through the nozzle, psi

C v = flow rating, dimensionless

xi

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

d o = internal diameter of orifice, in

C d = flow efficiency, dimensionless

N = number of jets (orifice) required, constant

F R = jet reaction force, lbs

F P = pulling force, lbs

θ = jet angle, degree

π = 3.142

V = flow velocity, ft/sec

P I = impact pressure, psi

D S = stand-off distance, ft

OD = Outer Diameter

ID = Inner Diameter

CWD = Casing While Drilling

RTC = Round The Corner

BHA = Bottom Hole Assembly

MCP = Minimum Cutting Pressure

OCP = Optimum Cutting Pressure

ROP = Rate of penetration

gr = graphite

ma = meta-anthracite

an =anthracite

sa = semi-anthracite

xii

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

lvb = Low Volatile Bituminous

mvb = Medium Volatile Bituminous

hvAb = High Volatile A Bituminous

hvBb = High Volatile B Bituminous

hvCb = High Volatile C Bituminous

subA = Sub-bituminous A

suB = Sub-bituminous B

subC = Sub-bituminous C

ligA = Lignite A

ligB = Lignite B

xiii

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

1.0 Overview of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

1.1 Potential of Coal Bed Methane

Coalbed methane, CBM, has progressively been gaining ground since the early

80’s, as an alternative source of energy. While technologies are still emerging in

coalbed methane production, the current technologies from both mining and oil

industries have resulted in some breakthroughs to produce methane gas from

coal seam; even though its contribution to total energy production is still minimal.

Considered to be in

the category of

tight gas

and shale gas which are

unconventional resources; CBM is set to continually attract operators with

nations moving towards environmentally friendly natural gas, as an energy

source. In order to increase the contribution of coalbed methane gas to total

energy need, there must be advances in the understanding of coalbed behavior

and characteristics, such as adsorption, diffusion, mechanical properties, and

stress-dependent permeability. In addition to this, technological advancements in

the area of drilling, completion, and stimulation techniques are keys to increased

coalbed methane production.

1

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.1.1 Global Potential of Coalbed Methane

On a global basis, Nazish 1 reported that coalbed methane now contributes more

than 1TCF (trillion cubic feet) of gas per annum.

The

Hart

Energy

Publications 2

once

quoted

Joe

Awny,

senior

petroleum

engineer, EquiTable Production Co.; of making the following statement about the

global potential of coalbed methane gas:

“In some regions, coalbed methane could eventually grow from a supplement to conventional natural gas supply to a main source of gas. The global coalbed methane resource is of some significance in the near-term energy mix, where it is currently being exploited in several countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia and China,” he said. “Long term, the resource is expected to be of great significance for the U.S., India, China, Poland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and elsewhere as a main source of gas supply.”

Coalbed Methane production activities are going on in several countries around

the globe and this is expected to increase as more and more countries are

developing interest

in

the

resource

play.

One particular

country that

has

developed interest in coalbed methane production is China, the world’s largest

coal

producer.

Nazish 1 reported

that

its

coalbed

methane

resources

are

estimated to range from between 1,000 and 2,800 TCF, which is many times

larger than its conventional gas potential. According to Nazish 1 , India’s coalbed

methane resource potential has been estimated at 280 TCF, which is also

surpassing its

conventional

gas

potential.

There

are ongoing

partnerships

between the U.S. and Indian companies to explore the potentials of coalbed

methane production.

2

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Bangladesh and Philippines are two other countries with significant interests in

coalbed methane production. Activities in coalbed methane production have also

been reported in several parts of Europe, especially in Russia, United Kingdom,

and Germany.

Estimates of worldwide in-place coalbed methane resources are difficult to make,

either because of lack of adequate technology to make such estimate across the

world or because few areas are as mature as the United States. However, The

United States Geological Survey (USGS) 3 reported that the global coalbed

methane recoverable reserves are estimated to be about 1,200 TCF.

1.1.2 U.S. Potential of Coalbed Methane

The U.S. estimates of the total coalbed methane resource vary considerably and

the estimates are contingent upon improved understanding and technologies to

explore the resource. Towards the end of 1990s, the USGS 3 estimated in-place

coalbed methane resources in the United States at more than 700 TCF; and that

about 100 TCF of the 700 TCF is economically recoverable. The 100TCF comes

from the contiguous 48 U.S. states. The Hart Energy Publications 2 reported that

about half of the estimated 100 TCF of recoverable coalbed methane is in the

Powder River Basin with an estimated 24 TCF of recoverable coalbed methane,

the Northern Appalachian Basin with an estimated 11 TCF of recoverable

coalbed methane, the San Juan Basin with an estimated 10 TCF of recoverable

coalbed methane, and the Black Warrior Basin with an estimated 4 TCF of

3

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

recoverable coalbed methane. The Oil & Gas Journal 4 reported that almost 75

TCF may still be discovered in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, apparently with

improved technology. The Hart Energy Publications 2 further reported that another

57 TCF of coalbed methane is estimated to be recoverable in Alaska.

In its reports, the Energy Information Administration 5 indicated that the number of

CBM producing wells in the contiguous 48 states passed the 15,000 mark in

2001, which was up from 284 wells in 1984. The number of producing wells has

since increased. The Energy Information Administration 5 reported that coalbed

methane currently accounts for about 8 percent of total gas production in the

United States. Figure 1.1 shows the coalbed methane resources and their

locations in the United States.

1.2 The Geology of Coalbed Methane Reservoir

Coal is a product of organic decomposition of plants. It is formed when peats

undergo both physical and chemical changes due to the actions of bacterial,

temperature, and pressure over an extended period of time.

This process is

called Coalification. Before Coalification is a process called Peatification. In

Peatification,

plants

are

deposited

in

swamps,

buried

rapidly

enough

by

sediments to limit the rate at which the available oxygen in organic-rich water is

completely used up by the decaying process (oxidation) but to allow microbial

decomposition of the plants. The use of oxygen in the decaying process is called

4

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

aerobic decomposition. If the rate of burial is slow, the oxygen is rapidly used up

and a much slower decomposition process, called anaerobic, takes place. Peats

are usually formed in waterlogged environment where plant debris are deposited

and accumulated. Burial

by sediments leads

to compaction

of

peat.

The

compaction allows water to squeeze out of the peat, especially during the early

stage of

Peatification.

As the Peatification process continues, peats

are

progressively covered with sediments, pressure continues to compress the peat,

and bacteria continue to react with peat to alter its chemical composition in the

presence of heat and over and extended period of geologic time. Some of the

products of the alteration are methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen gases.

The Kentucky Geological Survey 6 reported that these gaseous products are

typically expelled from the deposit, and the deposit becomes more and more

carbon-rich as the other elements disperse. The society further asserted that the

stages of this trend proceed from plant debris through peat, lignite, sub-

bituminous coal, bituminous coal, anthracite coal to graphite (a pure carbon

mineral).

Temperature is the most important parameter in the geochemical reactions that

occur during Coalification process. In their studies, The Kentucky Geological

Survey 6 concluded that an estimate of ten vertical feet of original peat materials

produces one vertical foot of bituminous coal in eastern and western Kentucky,

5

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

due to the amount of squeezing and water loss that accompanies the compaction

of peat after burial varies, depending on the original type of peat the coal came

from and the rank of the coal. The Figure 1.2 shows the Schematic of the

Coalification process.

Larsen 7 , in his study, concluded that the U.S. coals originated in the Tertiary,

Cretaceous, or Carboniferous periods. However, most of the coals come from the

Carboniferous period. Rogers et al 8 also concluded that younger coals in the

Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene periods are of lower rank or maturity unless

a localized heat source occurred to accelerate the normal metamorphism or

burial history was altered by tectonic action.

the normal metamorphism or burial history was altered by tectonic action. Figure 1.1: U.S. Coalbed Methane

Figure 1.1: U.S. Coalbed Methane Resource Map

6

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

There are fourteen major coal Basins in the United States. They are:

1 San Juan Basin

2 Black Warrior Basin

3 Raton Basin

4 Piceance Basin

5 Greater Green River Coal Region

6 Powder River Basin

7 Northern Appalachian Basin

8 Central Appalachian Basin

9 Western Washington

10 Wind River Basin

11 Illinois Basin

12 Arkoma Basin

13 Uinta Basin

14 Cherokee Basin

The Table 1.1 gives the characteristics and production potentials of the major

Basins.

7

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Texas Tech University , Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010 Figure 1.2: Schematic of the Coalification process

Figure 1.2: Schematic of the Coalification process

8

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Table 1.1: Characteristics and CBM production potential of various coal Basins (Ref # 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30).

S/N

Major U.S.

Location

Age Sediment

CBM Production

Characteristics

Coal Basin

(States)

Potential

 

San Juan Basin

SW Colorado and NW New

Upper and

Most profitable, most prolific CBM production Basin in the world

Favorable coal seam thickness, permeability, gas content, depth, and coal rank in large area

Lower

1

Mexico

Cretaceous

 

Black Warrior

Alabama

Lower

First Basin for CBM activities, less profitable than san Juan

multiple thin seams, more difficult and costly to complete limited production rate

2

Basin

Pennsylvanian

 

Raton Basin

NE New

Cretaceous,

smallest of major coal Basin

multiple thin seams, discontinuous coal groups

Mexico and

Paleocene,

3

SE Colorado

Late Cretaceous

 
 

Piceance Basin

Western

Cretaceous,

profitable and prolific

High coal seam thickness, High Gas content

4

Colorado

Late Cretaceous

 

Greater Green

SW Wyoming

Paleocene,

has five Basins: Sand Wash of NW CO and SW Wyoming, Great Divide of WY, Hanna of WY, Green River of WY, and Washakie of WY

Unfavorable conditions; such as: mostly unsaturated, high water production with aquifer sands lying between coals, thin coal seams, low to very low permeability, normal to under-pressured coal seam

River Coal

and NW

Eocene,

Region

Colorado

Cretaceous,

Upper

5

Cretaceous

 

Powder River

NE Wyoming,

Eocene,

Shallow formation, profitable but not prolific

Favorable coal seam thickness, low Gas content

6

Basin

and SE

Paleocene

Montana

 

Northern

West Virginia,

Pennsylvanian

not prolific, less profitable than black warrior Basin

similar thin seams to black warrior Basin, but more under- pressured and produce less water due to extensive mining that has taken place in the area, lower gas content than black warrior Basin because it is shallower, more under-pressured, and lower rank

Appalachian

Ohio,

Basin

Kentucky

Pennsylvania,

 

7

Maryland, and

 

Central

West Virginia,

Pennsylvanian

not prolific, less profitable than black warrior Basin

similar to northern Appalachian and black warrior Basins, mining activities has removed the amount of water to be removed to achieve gas production, gas content and permeability are similar to black warrior Basin, but both properties are higher than northern Appalachian

Appalachian

Virginia,

Basin

Kentucky, and

8

Tennessee

 

9

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Table 1.1: Continued

S/N

Major U.S.

Location

Age Sediment

CBM Production

Characteristics

Coal Basin

(States)

Potential

 

Western

Between Canadian border on the

north to Oregon border on the south

Eocene

no commercial CBM production, small Basin, complex geology

little available data to describe the Basin, has good gas content

Washington

9

 

Wind River

West-Central

Paleocene,

small Basin, complex geology including coal seam discontinuity, no commercial CBM production, located in remote area

little available data to describe the Basin, relatively thin coal seams

Basin

Wyoming

Upper

10

Cretaceous

 

Arkoma Basin

Central

Pennsylvanian

commercial CBM production but not prolific

less water due to extensive mining that has taken place in the area, high permeability and good gas content

Arkansas and

11

Oklahoma

 

Uinta Basin

NE Utah and NW Colorado

Upper

commercial CBM production but not as prolific as san Juan Basin

good coal seam thickness, good gas content, permeability and production rate

12

Cretaceous

 

Cherokee

Near

 

commercial CBM production but not as prolific as San Juan Basin, contains small amount of low gravity oil

Similar to Arkoma Basin: low water production rates, high permeability

Basin

Oklahoma/Ka

nsas/Missouri

border and

extends

 

13

northward

along

 

Kansas-

Missouri

border

 

Illinois Basin

Illinois,

Pennsylvanian

largest of the coal Basins, no

good coal seam thickness, multiple coal seams, low water production, low gas content, poor permeability, high nitrogen content, under-saturated coals

Western

Kentucky, and

 

14

SW Indiana

commercial CBM production

10

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.2.1 Geochemical Transformation of Coal

Peatification, the first stage in the development of coal, is the biochemical and

physical process of converting organic matter to peat with only secondary

assistance from geochemical processes. The biogenic methane generated by

bacteria in the Peatification stage is lost unless burial of the peat is rapid enough

and trapped by interbedded shale lenses. Later, however, biogenic methane from

other locales may migrate to the developing coal and be adsorbed.

There are two types of methane gas generation. Biogenic methane is generated

as

a

result

of

bacterial

reaction

during

Peatification

process

(microbial

decomposition). In his research, Rightmire 32 discovered that the methane is

usually lost unless burial of the peat is rapid enough and sealing shale lenses are

interbedded to form a trap. Also, Rogers et al 8 concluded that the biogenic

methane from other locales may migrate to the developing coal and be adsorbed.

The second type of methane generation, thermogenic methane, evolves during

the coalification process. Temperature acts to change the molecular structure of

coals over geologic time, which leads to the generation of thermogenic methane,

usually in large quantities.

Rogers et al 8 described what happens in the coal

when

thermogenic

methane

is

formed:

micropores

develop

to

absorb

extraordinary amounts of methane per unit of coal, and fractures permeate the

coal to transport the excess methane. The term excess methane means the

11

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

methane gas that could not be stored in the coal micropores due to the fact that

the micropores are completely filled up with gas because the coal has reached its

gas capacity. Just as the compressive strength of coal, the gas content increases

with rank (coal maturation) and its permeability also increases with rank up until

the upper bituminous level and then regresses beyond this rank, due to

continued alterations in the chemical structure of anthracite.

It is a common knowledge that the largest amounts of coalbed methane gas are

from thermogenic sources. In their own work, Law et al 33 however, concluded

that biogenic methane may be retained in commercial quantity, especially in thick

coal seams such as the one of the Fort Union formation of the Paleocene Age

and the overlying Wasatch formation of the Eocene Age of the Powder River

Basin of Montana/ Wyoming. Biogenic methane is usually stored in lignite-to-

subbituminous coal rank. Rogers et al 8 explained that the practicality of and

commercial production of biogenic methane from such Basin and coal rank is

due to the combination of thick seams and shallow depths of burial. However, the

Seelyville coalbed in the Linton formation of Illinois Basin is also found to be of

commercial value due to shallow depth, even though the coal seams are not as

thick as those of afore-mentioned formations.

Volatiles are common products of Peatification and Coalification. Carbon dioxide

and water are the first volatiles generated, usually during Peatification process

12

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

and at a temperature lower than 212 o F. Higher temperature favors rapid

generation of methane gas. During Coalification process, volatiles such as: CH 4 ,

CO 2 , H 2 O, and N 2 are generated and evolved. Larsen 7 reported that mainly CO 2

is librated in the stage going from peat to lignite while Rogers et al 8 asserted that

the thermogenic carbon dioxide, although more strongly adsorbed to the coal

matrix than the other volatiles, is more easily dissipated because of its solubility

in water. They further reports that nitrogen is the smallest molecule among the

volatiles and it more weakly adsorbed than methane or carbon dioxide. Hence, it

is more easily dissipated by diffusion during Coalification process.

ASTM ranks coals as a measure of their maturity. The Table 1.2 shows the

various coal ranks and subdivision, according to ASTM classification. There are

five major classifications and thirteen subdivision of coal. The five major classes

are: lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous, anthracite, and graphite. The bituminous

rank, specifically hvAb through lvb, is the best for coalbed methane production

because coal properties are well developed at this rank. Even thin coal seam of

hvAb through lvb can yield substantial amount of recoverable methane gas

because of well developed cleat systems, permeability, gas content, and gas

capacity.

13

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Table 1.2: ASTM Rank of Coal

Class

Group

Abbreviation

Graphite

Graphite

gr

Anthracitic

Meta-Anthracite

ma

Anthracite

An

Semi-anthracite

sa

Bituminous

Low Volatile

lvb

Medium Volatile

mvb

High Volatile A

hvAb

High Volatile B

hvBb

High Volatile C

hvCb

Sub-bituminous

Sub-bituminous A

subA

Sub-bituminous B

subB

Sub-bituminous C

subC

Lignitic

Lignite A

ligA

Lignite B

ligB

1.3 The Reservoir Engineering Aspects of Coalbed Methane

The purpose of

this section is

not to present

all

aspects of the reservoir

engineering of coalbed methane reservoirs. Those presented here are related to

this research. We would like to state clearly that the descriptions

14

are not

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

exhaustive; and only serves the purpose of assisting readers to understand the

aspects of coalbed methane reservoir that are critical to its exploration and

production.

1.3.1 Coalbed Methane versus Conventional Reservoirs

Coalbed methane reservoirs are unconventional; which means their descriptions

do not follow common knowledge already established in the conventional oil and

gas reservoirs. Operators of coalbed methane reservoirs often rely on the

combination of knowledge gained in mining, and oil and gas industries to

produce methane gas. The unique characteristics of coalbed methane reservoirs

necessitate modified approaches in the methane gas production. Over the years,

operators have gained more in-depth knowledge of this resource plays and have

improved their understanding method of methane gas production. Researches

and field practices have lead to:

a. an improved understanding of the fundamentals of coalbed methane

production

b. advances in measuring reservoir properties

c. advances in coalbed methane reservoir simulation

Levine 34 compared the characteristics of Coalbed methane and conventional gas

reservoirs. These are presented in Table 1.3.

15

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Table 1.3: Coalbed methane and conventional gas reservoirs Properties

Conventional Gas

 

Coalbed Methane Gas

 

Darcy flow of gas to wellbore

 

Diffusion through micropores by Fick’s Law

 

Darcy flow through fractures

 

Gas storage in macropores; real gas law

Gas

storage

by

adsorption

on

micropore surfaces

Production schedule according to set decline curves

Initial negative decline

 

Gas content from logs

 

Gas content from cores. Cannot get gas content from logs

Gas to water ratio decreases with time

Gas to water ratio increases with time in later stages

Inorganic reservoir rock.

 

Organic reservoir rock

 

Hydraulic fracturing may be needed to enhance flow

Hydraulic fracturing required in most of the Basins except the eastern part of the Powder River Basin where the permeability is very high. Permeability dependent on fractures

Macropore size: 1µ to 1 mm.

 

Micropore size: <5A°to 50A°

 

Reservoir and source rock independent

Reservoir and source rock same

 

Permeability not stress dependent

 

Permeability

highly

stress

 

dependent

Well

interference

detrimental

to

Well interference helps production. Must drill multiple wells to develop

production

 

16

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.3.2 Properties of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

Aminian 35 pointed out that gas content, storage capacity, and deliverability are

the key parameters that influence the decision making in the evaluation of CBM

prospects.

Whereas gas content and gas storage capacity influence the

determination of gas-in-place, Aminian 35 stated that the natural fracture system

permeability and relative permeability are

the most

critical properties

that

influence the deliverability of coalbed methane reservoirs. Coalbed methane

reservoir is considered a dual-porosity reservoir. The low permeability coal matrix

is considered to have the primary porosity while the secondary porosity is in the

natural fractures, the cleats. The majority of methane gas is stored in coal matrix

through adsorption. The matrix system practically has no permeability. Hence,

the flow of gas from the matrix into the cleat systems is by diffusion. The cleat

systems provide the conduit for dewatering and contain little or no gas at the

beginning of coalbed methane gas production. It is essentially filled with water.

Aminian 35 provided a list the major properties of coalbed methane reservoirs and

their methods of determination, as seen in Table 1.4.

1.3.2.1 Proximate Analysis

This is a laboratory analysis aimed at determining the composition of a coal. The

major compositions of coal, usually expressed in percentage, are the:

17

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. ash

b. fixed carbon

c. volatile matter, and

d. moisture

Table 1.4: Properties of Coalbed Methane and their Sources

Property

Source

Storage Capacity

Core Measurements

Gas Content

Core Measurements

Diffusivity

Core Measurements

Pore Volume Compressibility

Core Measurements

Gross Thickness

Well Logs

Effective Thickness

Well Logs

In-Situ Density

Well Logs

Pressure

Well Tests

Absolute Permeability

Well Tests

Relative Permeability

Simulation

Porosity

Simulation

Fluid Properties

Composition Analysis and Correlations

Gas Composition

Produced and Desorbed Gas

Drainage Volume

Geologic Studies

18

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Ash is the mineral matter left in the coal after thermal combustion during

Coalification process. The higher the ash contents of a coal, the lower the

adsorptive capacity of the coal. That is, the lower the amount of methane that

can be adsorbed into the coal. In addition to this adverse effect, mineral matters

also limit cleat formation and gas content of a coal. Hence, mineral matters affect

both the permeability and adsorptive capacity of methane in the coal. These two

properties of coal are very essential for commercial production of coalbed

methane gas. Constituents of ash in the coal are minerals of clay, carbonate,

sulfide (pyrite) and silica (quartz). The ash reduces with coal maturation.

Volatile matters, as previously mentioned are: CO 2 , H 2 O, and N 2 . The volatile

matters reduce with coal maturation because they continually get expelled from

the coal as maturation progresses under the influence of temperature.

Moisture content reduces the adsorptive capacity of methane gas. Lower rank

coals have higher moisture content than higher rank coal. In other word, moisture

content reduces with coal maturation and gas content increases with decrease in

moisture content.

The fixed carbon content increases with coal maturation until graphite is attained

because the ash content, moisture content, and volatile matters all reduce with

coal maturation. Graphite, as a coal rank, has 100 percent fixed carbon. The

19

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

fixed carbon content of a coal rank is calculated by subtracting the percentage

composition

of

ash,

moisture

content,

composition of the coal.

1.3.2.2 Ultimate Analysis

and

volatile matters

from

the

total

It is a laboratory analysis that gives the elemental composition, measured in

percentage, of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, and nitrogen in a given coal

seam

1.3.2.3 Permeability

Permeability, which is determined either from history matching production data or

from well test analysis, is considered the most critical parameter used in

evaluating the economic potential of a gas-bearing coal. For a gas-bearing coal

to be considered viable, the natural fracture networks and those created by

hydraulic fracturing must have sufficient permeability for commercial production

of methane. As critical as it is to CBM production, it is also the most difficult

parameter to evaluate accurately. The factors that affect permeability are:

a. frequency of the natural fractures

b. natural fractures connectivity

c. degree of fissure aperture opening

d. direction of butt and face cleats

e. water saturation

20

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

f. depth of coal burial

g. matrix shrinkage upon desorption, and

h. in-situ stresses

The parameter that is most important to CBM gas flow is the gas relative

permeability. The determination of this parameter is further complicated by its

changing nature with water relative permeability (water saturation in the flow

path). The most common method of determining the CBM relative permeability is

to use Corey correlation.

1.3.2.4 Permeability Anisotropy

This is a common feature in CBM production. There are two major types of cleats

system in the coal: butt and face cleats. Usually, the butt cleats permeability is

less than the face cleats. When this variation exists, geometric averaging

technique is used to estimate average permeability of the coal. The equation is

given as: K = KxKy
given as:
K
=
KxKy

Where;

1.1

K = average permeability of the coal seam, md

K x = permeability in x-direction (Face cleats), md

21

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

K y = permeability in y-direction (Butt cleats), md

The Figure 1.3 shows the arrangement of cleat systems and the presence of

permeability anisotropy in a coal seam.

and the presence of permeability anisotropy in a coal seam. Figure 1.3: Cleat systems and permeability

Figure 1.3: Cleat systems and permeability anisotropy of a typical coal seam

22

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.3.2.5 Gas Content

This term is used to describe the total amount of methane gas that is present in

coal seams.

Unlike conventional gas reservoirs where methane occupies void

spaces as free gas between sand grains, the CBM gas is held to the solid

surface of the coal by adsorption in numerous microspores. Even though logging

techniques can determine the presence of coal in a formation, the current logging

technologies cannot determine the presence of methane gas in coal seams.

There are two methods by which gas content of a coal seam can be determined:

a. direct method, which measures the volume of gas released from a coal

sample sealed into a desorption canister, and

b. indirect method, which uses empirical correlations, or laboratory-derived

sorption isotherm constructed from gas storage capacity data

Gas content of coal usually increases with depth as do conventional gas

reservoirs, but in contrast, the increase is due to the positive influence of

pressure on coal adsorptive capacity rather than the compressibility of the gas in

conventional

reservoirs.

Methane

gas

are

either

biogenic

or

thermogenic.

Biogenic methane is generally not economically viable because of very low gas

content; however, it can become viable in coals that are well connected and have

high

permeability.

The

biogenic

gas

evolves

during

the

early

stage

of

Peatification process. The coal depth is usually shallow (less than 2000 ft).

Thermogenic gas evolves when the organic mass becomes deeply buried and

23

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Coalification

becomes

a

function

of

pressure,

temperature,

and

time.

Temperature is the most important property in the geochemical reactions that

result in the evolution of thermogenic methane gas.

There are three components to volumetric calculation of gas content of coals.

These are:

a. Measured gas; from the coal in the canister

b. Lost gas; during core retrieval, and

c. Residual gas; from crushed core sample in the canister.

The equation for volumetric calculation of gas content is given as:

G

=

G

R

Where;

+ G

C

+ G

L

1.2

G = Gas content of the coal in the formation, scf/ton

G R = Residual gas of core, scf/ton

G C = Gas released by the core in the canister, scf/ton

G L = Lost gas from the core during coring process, scf/ton

Gas content can be reported in different ways. These include:

24

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. Raw or As-Received

b. Inert Gas-Air Dry

c. Dry, Ash-Free

d. Dry, Ash-Residual Moisture-Sulfur Free

e. Theoretically Pure-Coal

f. In-situ

The most common method of reporting gas content in CBM production is the Dry,

Ash-Free. The term Dry, Ash-Free means the moisture and organic ash contents

of the coal have been removed from the volumetric calculation, leaving only the

methane gas.

1.3.2.6

Isotherm

This term defines the volume of gas adsorbed on a solid surface as a function of

pressure and at a constant temperature for a specific gas and solid material.

Type

1

isotherm

is

known

for

its

applicability

in

microporous

solids,

a

characteristic of coal. Langmuir equation is generally used in the CBM process to

develop type 1 isotherm for coal. Because of its fitness to the adsorption data of

all coals, the Langmuir equation is universally used in the industry for predicting

CBM production. The model is referred to as Langmuir Isotherm. The equation is

given as:

25

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

P

G

S

=

1

V

L

P

+

P

L

V L

Rearranging equation 3 gives:

G

S

=

Where;

V

L

(1

a

w

c

)

P

P

+

P

L

1.3

1.4

G

s = Gas storage capacity, scf/ton

P

= Pressure, psia

P

L = Langmuir pressure, psia

V

L = Dry, ash-free Langmuir volume, scf/ton

a

= Ash content, weight fraction

w

c = Moisture content, weight fraction

It

should be noted that G and G S are quantitatively different from each other.

Whereas G is the actual volume of gas adsorbed to the coal surface at a specific

temperature and pressure, G S is maximum volume of gas a coal seam can

adsorb to its surface, also at a specific temperature and pressure.

This means

that G can be less than or equal to G S . A point to note on the isotherm is that at

lower pressure, large volumes of gas are adsorbed or desorbed with small

changes in pressure. The isotherm helps in predicting the critical desorption

26

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

pressure (CDP), gas content, and recovery factor. Figure 1.4 is a typical isotherm

plot. Given an initial pressure P 2 , the initial gas content can be read off on the y

(gas content) axis by tracing P 2 up from x (pressure) axis until it touches the

isotherm curve. This is an indirect method of estimating the gas content of a coal

seam.

method of estimating the gas content of a coal seam. Figure 1.4: A typical Isotherm plot.

Figure 1.4: A typical Isotherm plot.

1.3.2.7 The Critical Desorption Pressure:

The Critical Desorption Pressure, CDP, is the pressure at which gas starts to

produce during the dewatering process of coal seam. Dewatering is the process

by which water is being produced from coalbed methane reservoir in order to

27

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

reduce the reservoir pressure. Depending on the coal Basin, it may take up to a

year of dewatering before the critical desorption pressure is attained. In under-

saturated CBM reservoirs, gas production will not initiate until reservoir pressure

falls the CDP. The critical desorption pressure is the pressure at which the gas

content of the coal is in equilibrium with the isotherm.

Below the CDP, gas

begins to desorb then diffuse from the coal matrix to the cleat systems and then

begins to flow in the cleat systems towards the wellbore at a higher rate than

water. The higher flow rate of gas as compared to water is because; below CDP,

the gas relative permeability of coalbed methane reservoirs is higher than that of

water. The gas relative permeability continues to increase and consequently, gas

flow rate increases until the production of water stops. Figure 1.5 shows the

isotherm curves constructed for the Fruitland and Fort Union coal formations.

From the Fruitland isotherm curve, the coal formation is under-saturated and has

initial reservoir pressure of 1620 psia. This corresponds to the initial gas content

of about 355 scf/ton and methane gas storage capacity of about 450scf/ton. The

reservoir pressure was reduced to the CDP of 648 psia by dewatering. This is the

pressure at which the Fruitland coal starts producing methane gas. With the

abandonment pressure set at 100 psia, the unrecoverable (abandonment) gas

content was estimated as 128scf/ton. This gives the recoverable gas content of

Fruitland formation as 227scf/ton. This corresponds to the recovery factor of

about 64 percent.

28

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Texas Tech University , Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010 Figure 1.5: Isotherms for Fruitland and Fort

Figure 1.5: Isotherms for Fruitland and Fort Union coal formations

1.3.2.8 Effective and Gross Reservoir Thickness:

Effective reservoir thickness is the term used to describe the thickness of coal

seam that has been evaluated and considered commercial for production. Gross

reservoir thickness refers to the summation of the thickness of coal intervals

having densities less than the pre-determined cut-off values. The cut-off values

are generally taken to be equal to the ash density of the coal. Aminian 35 indicated

that determining net (effective) thickness is more complicated because it requires

evaluating

how

much

of

the

gross

coal

thickness

actually

contributes

to

production. He suggested the use of resistivity logs, well tests, production logs,

or zonal isolation tests for estimating effective reservoir thickness. Figure 1.6

shows an example of coal thickness obtained from a wireline log.

29

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Texas Tech University , Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010 Figure 1.6: Effective reservoir thickness (905’-915’ for

Figure 1.6: Effective reservoir thickness (905’-915’ for Seelyville coal in Indiana)

1.3.2.9 In-Situ Density

The true in-situ density of coal can be estimated from open-hole density log data.

In practice, the operators of coalbed methane reservoirs commonly use value of

1.32 to 1.36 g/cm 3 for the average in-situ density. However, Nelson 36 pointed out

that such random use can lead to serious errors in the estimation of gas-in-place.

When well log is not available, equation relating the density of the ash, moisture,

and organic (pure coal) fractions can be used to estimate the in-situ coal density.

The equation is given as:

1

=

where:

a

a

+

(1

a

w

c

)

o

+

ρ = bulk density, g/cm 3

w

c

w

30

1.5

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

ρ a = ash density, g/cm 3

ρ o = pure coal density, g/cm 3

ρ w = moisture density, g/cm 3

1.4

Drilling and Completions in Coalbed Methane Reservoirs

1.4.1

Drilling

The drilling operations in coalbed methane reservoirs require that all aspects of

the formation, especially the geological transformation and reservoir properties,

be considered before a choice is made on the drilling technique. Specifically, one

should answer the following questions before selection is made on the choice of

drilling technique:

a. Is the formation saturated or under-saturated?

b. What is the formation pressure (normally pressured, under-pressured or

over-pressured formation)?

c. What is the effective thickness of the target coal seam?

d. What is the formation permeability?

e. Based

on

permeability

and

permeability

anisotropy,

what

is

the

recommended well spacing? That is how many wells will be drilled in a

given drainage area and what spacing pattern?

f. Has the top soil been reclaimed due to mining operations?

31

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

If the coalbed methane reservoir is saturated, then there is high tendency that

gas influx may occur during drilling operation. Hence, overbalanced drilling will

be a preferred technique. The overbalanced drilling is a process in which the

wellbore pressure is greater than the formation pressure.

However, because

coalbed methane reservoirs are generally of low permeability, care should be

taken to prevent excessive pressure differential between the wellbore and

formation; to prevent formation damage.

If the formation is under-saturated,

underbalanced drilling method will be preferred. Underbalanced drilling is the

opposite of overbalanced drilling. It is a process in which the formation pressure

is greater than the wellbore pressure.

In normally pressured reservoirs, drilling with air versus mud is a viable choice. In

over-pressured formations, the use of a combination of liquid, solid, and air is a

preferred option in order to maintain backpressure and also control fluid influx.

When air is used as drilling fluid, air-hammer bits are the preferred bit types.

When liquid is used as drilling mud, tri-cone rotary bits are commonly used.

Permeability and effective thickness of coal seams are usually considered

together in order to make the choice of drilling technique. In high permeability

and relatively think coal seam, vertical drilling technique is preferred. Low, but

favorable, permeability coal Basin with thin coal seams is a candidate for

horizontal drilling technique. Horizontal drilling method can take different forms:

32

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. drilling multi-lateral wells from a single vertical wells

b. drilling a single long horizontal well from a vertical well

c. drilling multi-lateral wells from four multi-lateral/horizontal wells drilled from

a vertical well (pinnate well pattern)

Schoenfeldt 37 reported that the use of multi-lateral wells from two vertical wells in

a coal seam has proves successful for a CBM operator. Vitruvian Exploration,

LLC 38 (formerly known as CDX Gas, LLC) developed an underbalanced drilling

method in which air is injected down the adjacent well to the well being drilled.

The method requires drilling lateral wells from the horizontal section of a vertical

well. This invention for coalbed methane horizontal drilling and completion

systems

is

called

the

Z-PINNATE

technology.

advantages of pinnate wells pattern as:

The

company

gives

some

a. wells can drain up to 2000 acres from a single drill pad;

b. gas is produced immediately;

c. peak gas production is reached quickly, unlike a vertical wells in CBM

reservoir;

d. wells can drain a reservoir in 2 to 4 years;

e. gas recovery is high (80 to 90%); and

f. high gas flow rates (1 to 5 MMcfd) can be achieved

33

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

The company indicates that the pinnate pattern is specifically developed for low

permeability coalbed methane reservoirs, and therefore, not suitable in high

permeability coals, as many cases of lateral collapses have occurred. Figure 1.7

is a pictorial configuration of pinnate well pattern.

1.7 is a pictorial configuration of pinnate well pattern. Figure 1.7: Pinnate pattern drilling and completions

Figure 1.7: Pinnate pattern drilling and completions technique (after CDX 38 )

Horizontal well accelerates dewatering process and increases gas production

rates. For this to be achieved, the well has to be drilled perpendicular to the

direction of face cleats. Also, the horizontal well has to be drilled perpendicular to

34

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

direction of maximum principal stress, in order to maintain wellbore stability.

Diamond 39 listed examples of successes recorded from horizontal wells for gas

drainage in coal mines. The drainage is purely for safety reasons and not for

methane gas production as a natural gas. The examples are summarized below:

a. In Utah, two horizontal wells produced 140 Mscf/day of methane gas over

a period of six months.

b. In Pennsylvania (Pittsburg coal), four horizontal wells of lengths ranging

from 982 ft -2505 ft produced a combined total

of 580 Mscf/day of

methane gas at the initial stage, but declined to 234 Mscf/day after about

32 months; with a combined total of cumulative gas production of 255

MMscf.

c. In Marylee coal in Alabama, a 1010 ft horizontal well produced methane

gas at a rate of 200 Mscf/day initially, but declined to 65Mscf/day in one

year; with a total cumulative gas production of 40 MMscf.

When considering production of methane as natural gas

energy sources,

horizontal wells have been tried out in San Juan Basin with mixed results.

Watson 40 reported the results of two wells that were drilled in the Basin. One was

successful and the other was not. The well that was successful has good

permeability and well developed cleat system, while the well that was not

35

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

successful has opposite reservoir qualities. The success of these wells was

measured by their productivities.

One major reservoir parameter that lends itself to horizontal drilling is the

permrability anisotropy of the reservoir. The higher the permeability anisotropy,

the more favorable is using the horizontal well technique in coalbed methane

reservoir. Joshi 41 derived an equation that compares the productivity of horizontal

well to that of vertical well. The equation is used to determine the type of drilling

technique to adopt between vertical and horizontal wells in a particular formation.

Cameron et al 42 modified Joshi’s equation for coalbed methane reservoirs. The

modified equation is given as:

Q

h

Q

v

=

K anisot

H

h

H

v

 

ln

2 r

r

w

e

0 . 75

 

+

S

ln

2 r

r

w

e

0 . 75

+

S

mh

+

S

h

+

S

cah

1 . 386

S

h

=

ln

L

4 r

w

Where;

K anisot = permeability anisotropy (K max /K min )

1.6

1.7

H h = thickness of the coal seam containing the horizontal wellbore, ft

36

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

H v = sum of all completed seams in a vertical well, ft

r e = drainage radius, ft

r w = wellbore radius, ft

S = negative vertical skin factor due to stimulation

S

mh = mechanical skin damage to a horizontal well

S

h = negative skin factor due to the horizontal well

S

cah = shape related skin factor (function of drainage shape, well length, H h , and

K

v /Kh) given by correlation derived from charts

L

= horizontal length of wellbore, ft

Cameron et al 42 concluded that production rates from horizontal wells will be

more than the rates from vertical wells if H h /H v > 0.2 and if S mh is < 2. 0. The

Figure 1.8 shows all the types of drilling and completions method available for

coalbed methane production.

The well spacing configurations determine the number of wells that are required

to produce a given drainage area of coalbed methane reservoirs. Factors that

influence well spacing in CBM production are:

1. well interference

2. permeability

3. permeability anisotropy, and

4. hydraulic fracturing length

37

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Unlike in conventional reservoirs, well interference enhances coalbed methane

production,

provided

the

dewatering

of

coal

seams

is

facilitated

by

the

interference. Rogers et al 8 writes on a study that shows gas and water production

8 writes on a study that shows gas and water production Figure 1.8: Drilling and Completions

Figure 1.8: Drilling and Completions method (after Sunil 43 )

extend further in the face-cleat direction, making permeability anisotropy an

important factor in CBM well spacing. The longer the fracture length, the smaller

the number of wells required to produce a CBM field. They further stated that an

38

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

optimum well spacing for the most economical development of a CBM field can

only be obtained by simulation; where the combined effects of permeability,

permeability anisotropy, and fracture length on interference are considered.

There are different types of well pattern configuration in CBM, as do exist in

conventional

reservoirs.

The

only

major

difference

between

CBM

and

conventional reservoir is that CBM usually requires more wells than conventional

reservoir for the same drainage area.

If the target coal seam is in an area that has been reclaimed due to mining

operation, air drilling may be required to drill through the reclaimed top soil. This

is because the reclaimed top soil usually has high permeability. The use of

conventional drilling fluids (liquids) will result in high degree of lost circulation.

The use of air as drilling mud prevents such lost circulation from taking place.

1.4.2

Completions

The Figure 1.9 gives the detail of the completions and stimulation techniques that

have been employed in the various coal Basins in the United States. Sunil 43

listed the CBM reservoir parameters that influence the selection of drilling and

completion method; and these parameters are as follows:

a. effective thickness of coal net seam

b. coal seam gas content

39

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

c. coal rank

d. coal seam depth

e. permeability

f. areal extent of coal

g. compressive strength

h. dip of the coal

i. number of coal seams

j. vertical distribution of coal seams

Of the aforementioned parameters, permeability and gas content are the most

important.

permeability and gas content are the most important. Figure 1.9: Completions and stimulations methods in the

Figure 1.9: Completions and stimulations methods in the US coal Basins (after

Sunil 43 )

40

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Different types of completion methods exist. They include:

a. natural vertical open-hole completions

b. vertical open-hole cavity completions

c. vertical cased-hole completions

d. horizontal completions, and

e. vertical with top-set under-ream completions

The vertical cased-hole method can either be single zone or multi

zone

completions. Sunil 43 developed a chart, shown in Figure 1.10, for drilling and

completion

candidate

selection

completions methods.

based

on

these

reservoir

parameters

and

1.5 Production Engineering of Coalbed Methane Reservoir

The two principal reasons why methane gas is being produced from coalbeds

are:

1. mine safety, and

2. production as natural gas energy

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) sets the threshold for

methane

concentration

in

coal

mine

for

safe

mining

operations.

Any

concentration of methane gas the threshold will constitute safety hazard for

41

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

miners, especially in underground mining operations. Thus, mines are first

degassed to reduce the methane concentration the level set by the MSHA before

coal mining takes place. The produced gas, from mining operation point of view,

is an unwanted (hazardous) component of the mine. Here, the coal is the target

resources.

The methane gas is also produced as natural gas resources. In this situation, the

gas is the target resources while the coalbeds only serve as the reservoir rocks.

while the coalbeds only serve as the reservoir rocks. Figure 1.10: Decision chart for selecting the

Figure 1.10: Decision chart for selecting the drilling and completion method (after Sunil 43 )

42

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.5.1 Water Production

Most coalbed methane reservoirs are under-saturated. Hence, water must first

be produced, reducing the reservoir pressure to the critical desorption pressure

(CDP), in order to enhance methane gas production. Equation 8 is used to

calculate the amount of water produced at CDP.

W

c

t

W

p

i

=

=

=

Where;

c

c

t

w

W

+

i

7758

(

c

P

f

i

A

P

d

hS

)

wi

1.8

1.9

1.10

W p = Water required to be produced for gas desorption to commence, bbls

W i = Water initially in place in the drainage area, bbls

c w = water compressibility, psi -1

c f = formation compressibility, psi -1

p i = Initial reservoir pressure, psia

p d = Desorption pressure as determined by the Langmuir isotherm, psia

1.5.2 Gas Production

The methane gas production starts once the CDP is attained from the dewatering

process.

43

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

1.5.2.1 Initian Gas-in-Place

The initial gas-in-place defines the total volume of methane gas present in a

given coal field, either recoverable or not. Initial gas-in-place is calculated from:

G

i

=

Ah

Where;

43560

f

(1

S

wfi

)

B

gi

+

1.359

C

gi

c

(1

a

w

c

)

1.11

G

i = Gas in Place at initial reservoir conditions, Mscf

A

= Drainage area, ac

h

= coal thickness, ft.

φ f = Interconnected fracture (effective) porosity, fraction

S

wfi = Interconnected fracture water saturation, fraction

B

gi = Gas formation volume factor at p i , rcf/Mscf

C

gi = Initial sorbed gas concentration, scf/ton, dry, ash-free coal

ρ c = Pure coal density, g/cm 3

f a = Average weight fraction of ash, fraction

f m = Average weight fraction of moisture, fraction

43560 = Conversion factor, ft 2 /ac

As mentioned earlier, the process behind CBM production is to dewater the

reservoir until the critical desorption pressure is attained. The initial water

44

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

saturation in coal cleat is usually 100%. As mentioned earlier, dewatering can

take up to a year in some coal before reaching CDP. At CDP, gas starts to

produce and the water saturation progressively reduces as more and more gas is

being produced. It is worth mention that the cleat permeability increases at the

later stage of CBM production due to shrinkage of the coal matrix. Water is

usually produced through the tubing while gas is produced through the annulus

between tubing and casing, and sent to gas storage facility through pipelines.

The flow of gas from the micropores to the coal cleats is governed by diffusion

while the flow of gas within the cleat system and to the annulus is governed by

Darcy’s flow.

The gas produced (G P ) at abandonment pressure is the difference between the

initial gas-in-place (GIP i ) and gas-in-place at an abandonment pressure (GIP a ).

That is:

G

p

= GIP

Where

i

GIP

a

1.12

G p = gas produced (recoverable gas reserve)

GIP i = initial gas in place

GIP a = gas in place at abandonment

The recovery factor is calculated as:

45

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

Rf

=

V

i

V

a

V

a

And in terms of gas in place,

Rf

=

G

G

p

i

Where; Rf = Recovery factor, %

V i = initial volumetric gas content, scf/ton

V a = abandonment gas content, scf/ton

G p = Methane recoverable reserves, Mscf

G i = Initial gas in place, Mscf.

1.13

1.14

1.5.3 Enhanced Coalbed Methane Production

Since there is practical limit for lowering total pressures on coal seams in order to

maximize recovery, it is feasible to achieve high recovery of methane by two

methods:

a. reducing the partial pressure of the methane, for example, by injecting

nitrogen into the reservoir, and

b. injecting CO 2 to displace methane from coal seams

46

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

These processes are called Enhanced Coalbed Methane (ECBM) recovery. This

is tantamount to what is obtained in the conventional reservoir as Enhanced Oil

Recovery (EOR).

1.5.4 Well Stimulation/Hydraulic Fracturing

Generally, coalbed methane reservoir will not give up its methane gas content at

commercial rates unless it is stimulated; commonly by hydraulic fracturing. This

is due to its characteristically low permeability. When properly executed, the

hydraulic

fracturing

technique

increases

the

near-wellbore

formation

permeability; thereby facilitating faster dewatering of coalbed methane reservoir

and creates paths for gas to flow from the formation to the wellbore. Progress

has been made to improve on the application of hydraulic fracturing technique

since it was first applied in coalbed methane reservoirs. Extensive researches

have been carried out by the Gas Research Institute on the application of

hydraulic fracturing technique in the Black Warrior Basin. Their works have led to

improved field practices and cost reduction in other coal Basins.

Whereas

hydraulic

fracturing

is

a

common

practice

in

conventional

low

permeability sandstone gas reservoirs, Rogers et al 8 listed the following reasons

for modifications of the stimulation technique before it can be extended to

coalbed methane reservoirs:

47

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. the surface of the coal adsorbs chemicals of the fracturing fluid

b. the coal has an extensive natural network of primary, secondary, and

tertiary fractures that open to accept fluid during hydraulic fracturing but

close upon the fluid afterwards, introducing damage, fluid loss, fines, and

treating pressures higher than expected

c. fracturing fluid can leak deep into natural fractures of coal without forming

a filter cake

d. multiple, complex fractures develop during treatment

e. high pressures are often required to fracture coal

f. Young’s modulus for coal is much lower than that for conventional rock

g. induced fractures in some vertical CBM wells may be observed in

subsequent mine-throughs

h. horizontal fractures occur in very shallow coals, such as the Pratt group in

the Black Warrior Basin

i. fines and rubble result from fracturing brittle coal

j. coal seams to be fractured may be multiple and thin, perhaps only 1 or 2ft

thick, requiring a strict economical approach to the operations

Different methods currently exist in hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane

reservoirs. They include:

48

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. water without proppant

b. water with proppant

c. CO 2 or N 2 gas with proppant

d. CO 2 or N 2 without proppant

e. foam with proppant, and

f. cross-linked gel with proppant

The proppant can either be sands or ceramics. The candidate selection for the

type of hydraulic fracturing method to be employed in a given coalbed methane

reservoirs takes into account the:

a. reservoir pressure gradient

b. reservoir permeability, and

c. formation water saturation

1.6 The Illinois Coal Basin

Watson 40 gave the detailed description of Illinois Coal Basins, including the

geologic transformation of the Basin. Therefore, attempt will not be made to

duplicate such effort in this work. This section primarily describes the suitability of

Illinois coal Basin for horizontal well development, especially the Seelyville coal

(coal III) in Indiana; where the waterjet horizontal drilling technology was carried

out. Listed are the average formation properties and formation characteristics of

Illinois coal Basin.

49

Texas Tech University, Gbenga M. Funmilayo, August 2010

a. (Low) Gas Content: 30 to 150 scf/ton, DAF

b. (Low) Gas In Place: 5 to 21 Tcf

c. Net Coal Thickness: 15 to 35 ft

d. Coal Rank: hvCb to hvAb; hvBb is common

e. Moisture Content: 5 to 19 %

f. Ash Content: 1 to 25 %

g. Sulfur (Pyrite): 2 to 11 %

h. Volatile Matter: 28 to 41 %; Nitrogen: 15 to 20 %

i. Permeability: 1to 50 md

j. Permeability anisotropy: between 10 to 40

k. Average depth: 600 to 900 ft

l. Regional Pressure Gradient: 0.455 psi/ft

m. Formation Pressure: 267 to 400 psi

n. Formation Temperature: 72 o F

There are seven major coalbeds in Illinois Basin. They include:</