Geologic Evaluation of Critical Production Parameters for Coalbed Methane Resources, Part II, Black Warrior Basin

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Pashin, J. C.
Ward, W. E.
Winston, R. B.
Chandler, R. V.
Bolin, D. E.
Hamilton, R. P.
Mink, R. M.

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Geologic evaluation of critical production parameters for coalbed-methane resources in the Black Warrior basin of Alabama employed an interdisciplinary approach that utilized structural, coal-quality, sedimentologic, hydrologic, and engineering data. Results indicate that geologic factors are a major control on the producibility of coalbed methane and that completion techniques may be used to increase recovery if tailored to specific geologic settings. Sedimentologic and coal-quality parameters may be used to locate regions for coalbed methane development by characterizing the occurrence, rank, and grade of coal resources. However, high-productivity trends within those regions are localized, and geologic data suggest that productivity trends may be predictable. Several highly productive trends occur along northeast-oriented lineaments. These lineaments are the inferred surface expression of zones of enhanced permeability which are related to fractures. Productive trends also are associated with areas of low reservoir pressure, and salinity maps indicate that fresh water has migrated toward areas with low reservoir pressure. The available data indicate that structure and hydrology are critical production parameters that may be used to identify favorable well sites within regions containing significant coalbed-methane resources.


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