Waynesburg College, in cooperation with TRW, Inc. and the Department of Energy, is in the process of completing the drilling of a well through the Upper Pennsylvanian coals near Waynesburg, Greene County in southwestern Pennsylvania. The primary objective of this well was to determine the optimum method for the extraction of methane gas from a multiple number of coal seams, and secondly, to provide Waynesburg College with an alternate source of energy to heat the buildings on the campus. It is anticipated that the gas produced will replace 60 to 70 percent of the peak demand of the College.
The well was drilled to a total depth of 442 meters using rotary percussion with air. After setting a water string of 22 cm casing, a 20 cm hole was drilled to the total depth. Production casing measuring 14 cm was cemented to the surface in a single stage.
Perforation and fracturing were done on an incremental basis using a retrievable bridge plug. Data from the coring and logging operations indicated that only seven of the coal seams present at the site would be suitable for fracturing and gas production. The coals were divided into three zones and perforated and fractured in turn to allow for maximum stimulation. The retrievable bridge plug was used to isolate the lower fractured seams from those above that were to be fractured. Fracturing was done with foam injected at a maximum rate of .03 m3/s using a sand proppant to maintain the openings in the coal.
The well, when completed, will be topped with a standard well head. A downhole positive displacement pump will be used to remove the water produced from the coals. The well is presently undergoing testing to determine its production potential. The gas produced will be run through a separator and dessicator before it is metered into a nearby existing commercial gas line for transportation to the Waynesburg College campus.