Mining Publication: A Numerical Evaluation on the Effects of Impermeable Faults on Degasification Efficiency and Methane Emissions During Underground Coal Mining
Impermeable geologic faults in the coal seam can cause intermittent production problems or can cause unexpected amounts of water or gas to issue from degasification boreholes. These faults also can impact methane emissions into the mine workings, especially if they hinder proper and effective degasification of the coal bed. They may also act as barriers for methane flow in the coal seam. Although this might seem beneficial for advancing mine workings, faulting may also cause gas pressure buildups and result in compartmentalization of the gassy regions from which large quantities of water and methane may rush into mine workings. This study uses reservoir simulations to illustrate the effects of impermeable faults, with and without throws, on the production performance of vertical and horizontal degasification boreholes. These boreholes were drilled from the surface to intercept the coal layer and fault and were assumed to produce methane two years prior to mining of the coal seam. Longwall advances and face-position-related emissions and reservoir properties were characterized using sector definitions along the path of the panel grids. This work numerically evaluates water and gas productions of each borehole and presents the effects and the impacts of impermeable faults on methane emissions due to an advancing coal face. The results can be used to understand the effects of impermeable faults on borehole productions and face emissions due to these coal seam anomalies.