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Production history matching to determine reservoir properties of important coal groups in the Upper Pottsville formation, Brookwood and Oak Grove fields, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama.

J Nat Gas Sci Eng 2013 Jan; 10:51-67
The Black Warrior Basin of Alabama is one of the most important coal mining and coalbed methane production areas in the United States. Methane control efforts through degasification that started almost 25 years ago for the sole purpose of ensuring mining safety resulted in more than 5000 coalbed methane wells distributed within various fields throughout the basin. The wells are completed mostly in the Pratt, Mary Lee, and Black Creek coal groups of the Upper Pottsville formation and present a unique opportunity to understand methane reservoir properties of these coals and to improve their degasification performances. The Brookwood and Oak Grove fields in the Black Warrior Basin are probably two of the most important fields in the basin due to current longwall coal mining activities. In this work, methane and water productions of 92 vertical wellbores drilled, some completed 20 years ago, over a current large coal mine district located in these two fields, were analyzed by history matching techniques. The boreholes were completed at the Mary Lee coal group, or at combinations of the Pratt, Mary Lee, and Black Creek groups. History matching models were prepared and performed according to properties of each coal group. Decline curve analyses showed that effective exponential decline rates of the wells were between 2% and 25% per year. Results of production history matching showed, although they varied by coal group, that pressure decreased as much as 80% to nearly 25 psi in some areas and resulted in corresponding decreases in methane content. Water saturation in coals decreased from 100% to between 20 and 80%, improving gas relative permeabilities to as much as 0.8. As a result of primary depletion, permeability of coal seams increased between 10 and 40% compared to their original permeability, which varied between 1 and 10 md depending on depth and coal seam. These results not only can be used for diagnostic and interpretation purposes, but can be used as parameter distributions in probabilistic simulations, as illustrated in the last section of this paper. They can also be used in conjunction with spatial modeling and geological considerations to calculate potential methane emissions in operating mines.
Mining-industry; Coal-mining; Coal-processing; Methane-control; Methane-drainage; Methanes; Gases; Coal-gasification; Environmental-control; Environmental-engineering; Water-analysis; Analytical-models; Ventilation; Geology; Emission-sources; Explosive-gases; Explosion-prevention; Controlled-environment; Environmental-technology; Gas-mixtures; Fluid-mechanics; Fluids; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: History matching; Black Warrior basin; Mary Lee coal group; Upper Pottsville formation; Coal reservoir properties
C. ÷zgen Karacan, NIOSH, Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, PO Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, USA
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Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering