Mining Publication: Rotary Drilling Holes in Coalbeds for Degasification
Coal is a soft and brittle material. Drilling rates in the Pittsburgh coalbed using a drag bit exceed 3 ft/min at 2,500-pound thrust. However, maintaining the bit on a horizontal trajectory or parallel to bedding planes to attain lengths of 1,000 feet is difficult. This Bureau of Mines report presents a drill string configuration that can be guided through the coalbed. The angle of the borehole is measured periodically and by proper combinations of bit thrust and rotational speed (r/min), bit trajectory can be lifted or dropped to keep the bit in the coalbed. An example of a hole drilled to 2,126 feet is presented to show levels of thrust and rotational speed used to lift or drop the bit, the seemingly unexplainable events that occur, and the strategy used during drilling. Thrust levels during drilling range from 600 to 2,500 pounds. Hydraulic motors powered by a 30-hp, 440-volt motor provide ample power for drilling horizontal holes 2,000 feet long.