Implications of the in situ stress distribution for coalbed methane zonation and hydraulic fracturing in multiple seams, western Guizhou, China

Shida Chen, Dazhen Tang, Shu Tao, Pengcheng Liu, Jonathan P. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With 59 sets of well testing data from 32 wells, 70 coal seam gas data from 9 wells, and production data from 17 wells, the in situ stress distribution within depths of 136-1244 m and its implications for coal permeability (0.0001-1.56 mD), gas content (5-22 m3/t) and gas productivity in western Guizhou were investigated. Three major depth intervals with different stress regimes were identified. At depths of 800-1244 m, the horizontal stresses increased to high values with depth due to the compressional zone near the axis of the syncline. Permeability changes with depth were consistent with the effective stress variations. The 500–800 m depth interval with a normal faulting stress regime was favorable for good permeability (0.008-0.57 mD, mean 0.2 mD) and a stable pressure gradient (approximately 1 MPa/100 m), and the gas content generally increased with depth to a peak value at 800 m. For the 200-500 m and 800-1244 m depth intervals, extremely low permeability (0.0001-0.17 mD, mean 0.03 mD) resulted in discontinuous changes in gas content and pressure gradient (0.47-1.71 MPa/100 m). Overall, the stress release zone at depths of 500–800 m was favorable for coalbed methane extraction, which agreed with the measured production data. Low horizontal stress anisotropy in western Guizhou contributes to complex hydraulic fracture networks, individual seam fracturing with low proppant concentration and high fracturing fluid volume is suggested for multilayer commingled production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108755
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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