The production of coalbed methane in the United States dates back to the early 1930's. Yet it was not until the early 1980's that research and development projects began to show the enormous potential of this energy resource. These efforts have resulted in the rapid commercialization of coalbed methane production in the United States, including the drilling of almost 800 wells by Amoco. Efforts to evaluate and implement coalbed methane recovery projects are continuing, with current emphasis being placed on worldwide resources.
In recent months, we (and our colleagues) have published almost a dozen papers on coalbed methane production encompassing a wide variety of topics. This paper summarizes the significant findings of those papers and stresses their importance to field operations. Subjects covered include reservoir modeling, pressure transient analysis, rock property measurements, well stimulation, and enhanced coalbed methane recovery. Although most of the work discussed here was done on coals from the San Juan (Colorado and New Mexico) and Warrior (Alabama) Basins, the results are general and applicable to coals in other parts of the world.