Mining Publication: Coal Bed Discontinuity Effects on the Production of Degasification Boreholes and on Emissions During Longwall Mining
Geological discontinues in the coalbed, such as faults, sandstone channels, permeability facies, lithotype changes, and large scale partings in the coal seam, can cause intermittent production problems or produce unexpected amounts of water or gas from degasification boreholes. These discontinuities not only can impact methane emissions into the mine workings, especially if they hinder proper and effective degasification of the coalbed but may act as conduits for methane flow from gassy strata into advancing mine workings. The effects of these discontinuities are still under debate by mining and gas production experts. This study presents a numerical investigation using reservoir simulations of the effects of partings and permeability facies and lithotype changes on the production performances of vertical and horizontal degasification boreholes, as well as the emissions during longwall operations. In this work, the grid block was designed in a multi-layer 3-D structure which enabled spatial descriptions of the geometries and properties of the discontinuities within the coal seam. The studied coal seam discontinuities and their properties were distributed arbitrarily within the model. Production was simulated by vertical and horizontal boreholes. Degasification boreholes operated two years prior to start of the mining. The results of this numerical study show that in coal seams with major heterogeneities and discontinuties, the geometry and location of the boreholes are important for improved gas production. These considerations are also important for controlling methane and water inflow into the working environment during longwall mining.