Conventional wisdom states that a coalbed methane (CBM) evaluation program should consist, initially, of core hole and permeability testing, followed by flow testing wells, leading to one or more multiple well pilot programs. Such an evaluation program progresses sequentially from lower initial cost for basic data acquisition to higher cost production testing that normally focuses on the construction of a reservoir simulation-based field development model. However, Applications of this approach minimize any consequence of reservoir heterogeneities, which ultimately dominate later large-scale project performance. Due to these heterogeneities, potentially commercial coalbed methane production areas may be bypassed or prematurely condemned. To reduce the likelihood of missing or overlooking otherwise attractive CBM plays, an alternative evaluation model was developed to focus specifically on reservoir heterogeneity. This alternative evaluation program utilizes production distributions derived from proven productive basin area reservoir/operational analogs. The resulting production variability is then weighed against prospective new play areas in order to define more effective exploration program requirements. This results in a more realistic approach to the exploration process and increases the probability of large-scale technical and financial success.

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