The large spatial variability of in-situ stress and initial reservoir pressure in steeply-dipping ultra-thick coalbed methane (UTCBM) reservoirs exert strong control on the initial distribution of stress-sensitive permeability. This results in significant differences in the propagation of reservoir depressurization, gas production characteristics, distribution of fluid saturation, and evolution of permeability relative to flat-lying and thin counterpart coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs. We contrast these responses using the Fukang mining area of the Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China, as a type-example using coupled hydro-mechanical modeling. Production response indicates: (1) Dual peaks in CBM production rate, due to the asynchronous changes in the gas production rate in each the upper and lower sections of the reservoir; (2) higher depressurization and water saturation levels in the lower section of the reservoir relative to the upper at any given distance from the production well that ameliorate with time to be similar to those of standard horizontal reservoirs; (3) the heterogeneity in effective stress is further amplified by the asymmetry of the initial pressure drawdown distribution of the reservoir to exert extreme control on the down-dip evolution of absolute permeability—with implications for production. Field drainage data and simulation results obtained in this study more accurately reflect the drainage characteristics of the steeply-dipping UTCBM reservoirs. For ultra-thick low-rank coal seams, permeability anisotropy plays an important role in determining the utility of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing to maximize rates and yields CBM production, and requiring further study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Control and Optimization
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering