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Karacan C.O.,Office of Mine Safety and Health Research | Olea R.A.,U.S. Geological Survey
Fuel | Year: 2015

Coal seam degasification improves coal mine safety by reducing the gas content of coal seams and also by generating added value as an energy source. Coal seam reservoir simulation is one of the most effective ways to help with these two main objectives. As in all modeling and simulation studies, how the reservoir is defined and whether observed productions can be predicted are important considerations. Using geostatistical realizations as spatial maps of different coal reservoir properties is a more realistic approach than assuming uniform properties across the field. In fact, this approach can help with simultaneous history matching of multiple wellbores to enhance the confidence in spatial models of different coal properties that are pertinent to degasification. The problem that still remains is the uncertainty in geostatistical simulations originating from the partial sampling of the seam that does not properly reflect the stochastic nature of coal property realizations. Stochastic simulations and using individual realizations, rather than E-type, make evaluation of uncertainty possible. This work is an advancement over Karacan et al. (2014) in the sense of assessing uncertainty that stems from geostatistical maps. In this work, we batched 100 individual realizations of 10 coal properties that were randomly generated to create 100 bundles and used them in 100 separate coal seam reservoir simulations for simultaneous history matching. We then evaluated the history matching errors for each bundle and defined the single set of realizations that would minimize the error for all wells. We further compared the errors with those of E-type and the average realization of the best matches. Unlike in Karacan et al. (2014), which used E-type maps and average of quantile maps, using these 100 bundles created 100 different history match results from separate simulations, and distributions of results for in-place gas quantity, for example, from which uncertainty in coal property realizations could be evaluated. The study helped to determine the realization bundle that consisted of the spatial maps of coal properties, which resulted in minimum error. In addition, it was shown that both E-type and the average of realizations that gave the best match for invidual approximated the same properties resonably. Moreover, the determined realization bundle showed that the study field initially had 151.5 million m3 (cubic meter) of gas and 1.04 million m3 water in the coal, corresponding to Q90 of the entire range of probability for gas and close to Q75 for water. In 2013, in-place fluid amounts decreased to 138.9 million m3 and 0.997 million m3 for gas and water, respectively. © Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Karacan C.O.,Office of Mine Safety and Health Research | Olea R.A.,U.S. Geological Survey
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences | Year: 2013

Gob gas ventholes (GGVs) are used to control methane inflows into a longwall mining operation by capturing the gas within the overlying fractured strata before it enters the work environment. Using geostatistical co-simulation techniques, this paper maps the parameters of their rate decline behaviors across the study area, a longwall mine in the Northern Appalachian basin. Geostatistical gas-in-place (GIP) simulations were performed, using data from 64 exploration boreholes, and GIP data were mapped within the fractured zone of the study area. In addition, methane flowrates monitored from 10 GGVs were analyzed using decline curve analyses (DCA) techniques to determine parameters of decline rates. Surface elevation showed the most influence on methane production from GGVs and thus was used to investigate its relation with DCA parameters using correlation techniques on normal-scored data. Geostatistical analysis was pursued using sequential Gaussian co-simulation with surface elevation as the secondary variable and with DCA parameters as the primary variables. The primary DCA variables were effective percentage decline rate, rate at production start, rate at the beginning of forecast period, and production end duration. Co-simulation results were presented to visualize decline parameters at an area-wide scale. Wells located at lower elevations, i.e., at the bottom of valleys, tend to perform better in terms of their rate declines compared to those at higher elevations. These results were used to calculate drainage radii of GGVs using GIP realizations. The calculated drainage radii are close to ones predicted by pressure transient tests. © 2012.


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. © 2012.


Ozgen Karacan C.,Office of Mine Safety and Health Research | Olea R.A.,U.S. Geological Survey
Mathematical Geosciences | Year: 2013

Coal seam degasification and its success are important for controlling methane, and thus for the health and safety of coal miners. During the course of degasification, properties of coal seams change. Thus, the changes in coal reservoir conditions and in-place gas content as well as methane emission potential into mines should be evaluated by examining time-dependent changes and the presence of major heterogeneities and geological discontinuities in the field. In this work, time-lapsed reservoir and fluid storage properties of the New Castle coal seam, Mary Lee/Blue Creek seam, and Jagger seam of Black Warrior Basin, Alabama, were determined from gas and water production history matching and production forecasting of vertical degasification wellbores. These properties were combined with isotherm and other important data to compute gas-in-place (GIP) and its change with time at borehole locations. Time-lapsed training images (TIs) of GIP and GIP difference corresponding to each coal and date were generated by using these point-wise data and Voronoi decomposition on the TI grid, which included faults as discontinuities for expansion of Voronoi regions. Filter-based multiple-point geostatistical simulations, which were preferred in this study due to anisotropies and discontinuities in the area, were used to predict time-lapsed GIP distributions within the study area. Performed simulations were used for mapping spatial time-lapsed methane quantities as well as their uncertainties within the study area. The systematic approach presented in this paper is the first time in literature that history matching, TIs of GIPs and filter simulations are used for degasification performance evaluation and for assessing GIP for mining safety. Results from this study showed that using production history matching of coalbed methane wells to determine time-lapsed reservoir data could be used to compute spatial GIP and representative GIP TIs generated through Voronoi decomposition. Furthermore, performing filter simulations using point-wise data and TIs could be used to predict methane quantity in coal seams subjected to degasification. During the course of the study, it was shown that the material balance of gas produced by wellbores and the GIP reductions in coal seams predicted using filter simulations compared very well, showing the success of filter simulations for continuous variables in this case study. Quantitative results from filter simulations of GIP within the studied area briefly showed that GIP was reduced from an initial ∼73 Bcf (median) to ∼46 Bcf (2011), representing a 37 % decrease and varying spatially through degasification. It is forecasted that there will be an additional ∼2 Bcf reduction in methane quantity between 2011 and 2015. This study and presented results showed that the applied methodology and utilized techniques can be used to map GIP and its change within coal seams after degasification, which can further be used for ventilation design for methane control in coal mines. © 2013 International Association for Mathematical Geosciences.


Karacan C.O.,Office of Mine Safety and Health Research
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences | Year: 2015

Longwall mining of coal seams affects a large area of overburden by deforming it and creating stress-relief fractures, as well as bedding plane separations, as the mining face progresses. Stress-relief fractures and bedding plane separations are recognized as major pathways for gas migration from gas-bearing strata into sealed and active areas of the mines. In order for strata gas not to enter and inundate the ventilation system of a mine, gob gas ventholes (GGVs) can be used as a methane control measure. The aim of this paper is to analyze production performances of GGVs drilled over a longwall panel. These boreholes were drilled to control methane emissions from the Pratt group of coals due to stress-relief fracturing and bedding plane separations into a longwall mine operating in the Mary Lee/Blue Creek coal seam of the Upper Pottsville Formation in the Black Warrior Basin, Alabama. During the course of the study, Pratt coal's reservoir properties were integrated with production data of the GGVs. These data were analyzed by using material balance techniques to estimate radius of influence of GGVs, gas-in-place and coal pressures, as well as their variations during mining.The results show that the GGVs drilled to extract gas from the stress-relief zone of the Pratt coal interval is highly effective in removing gas from the Upper Pottsville Formation. The radii of influence of the GGVs were in the order of 330-380. m, exceeding the widths of the panels, due to bedding plane separations and stress relieved by fracturing. Material balance analyses indicated that the initial pressure of the Pratt coals, which was around 648. KPa when longwall mining started, decreased to approximately 150. KPa as the result of strata fracturing and production of released gas. Approximately 70% of the initial gas-in-place within the area of influence of the GGVs was captured during a period of one year. © 2015.

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