A new method of coalbed methane (CBM) recovery is proposed wherein hot carbon dioxide at or near supercritical condition is injected into a CBM reservoir to take advantage of enhanced desorption of methane at elevated temperatures and the preferential adsorption of CO2 on coal surfaces compared to methane. The feasibility of this concept was studied by reservoir simulations using one quarter of an inverted five spot pattern using CO2 and CH4 adsorption isotherms published in the literature. The study compared CBM recovery by pressure depletion, CO2 injection and injection of CO2 that is 10°C hotter than the reservoir temperature. Results show that hot CO2 injection can significantly increase the production rate and recovery factor over and above that achievable by reservoir heating or CO2 injection alone. This new method holds promise for enhanced CBM recovery and also CO2 sequestration, especially for high-rank coals where swelling of coal by CO2 injection is minimized. Preliminary considerations suggest that this method can be economic over a range of CO2 and natural gas price if the CO2 comes from natural sources and the CBM field is located near an existing CO2 pipeline. Alternatively, if the source of CO2 is industrial, this method can be profitable if the cost of CO2 capture is offset by the trading price of CO2 and if the CBM project is located near the CO2 source.


Coalbed methane, also known as coal seam gas, is a significant source of natural gas worldwide, with sizable reserves in the United States, Australia, Russia, Canada and China. In 2015, CBM production in the US was 1.27 Tcf (35.97 Bcm), accounting for 3.9% of all US natural gas production (EIA, 2017). Commercial production of CBM occurs in ten US basins with major production coming from the San Juan, Black Warrior and the Central Appalachian. In 2015, CBM production in Australia was 270 Bcf (7.65 Bcm) accounting for 18% of Australia's total natural gas production (Australian Government, 2016).

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