The dewatering process, which stimulates gas desorption, is essential for gas production in coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs. Many CBM wells require hydraulic fracturing to provide interconnectivity and hydraulic access to the cleat/matrix system. Without hydraulic communication and access to the hierarchical flowpath, gas desorption is severely limited or nonexistent.

When economics allow operators to continue long-term gas production, the gas rate of most coalbed wells will eventually increase. Overtime, gas desorbs from the coal macerals that form the cleat blocks. However, some coalbed fields experience premature or severe declines in production because of poor hydraulic-fracture conductivity. Particulates have been discovered as a primary cause of poor hydraulic-fracture conductivity. These particulates flow with produced water; they are then deposited within the proppant pack where they block pore throats and interfere with gas desorption.

A surface modification agent (SMA) that prevents or reduces hydraulic-fracture conductivity damage has been developed and successfully field-tested. This agent, which has strong adhesive properties, helps delay or prevent conductivity damage to the proppant bed. This paper discusses (1) the problems associated with poor hydraulic-fracture conductivity, (2) why it occurs in coalbed wells, and (3) how a new SMA can minimize the problem.

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