A joint venture test project for methane drainage was conducted by Methane Drainage Ventures (MDV) at Australian Iron and Steel Pty. Ltd's (AI&S) Appin Colliery, Appin, New South Wales, Australia. The project for methane drainage in advance of longwall mining included five (5) horizontal boreholes into the Bulli Coalbed of the Illawarrg Coal Measure in the south Sydney Basin, Australia.

Peak gas flowrates from a total of 1 380m (4500 ft) of horizontal boreholes reached 17,000 m3 per day (600,000 standard cubic ft/d). The total horizontal drilling project was conducted in eight months of 1981. Produced gas of 97% methane was safely vented both during and after the test project due to the efforts of the colliery operators.

Test drilling was successfully conducted from two separate mining sections on opposite sides of the colliery. Data collected during and after the drilling campaign were used to define the properties of the coalbed. Computer simulation was used to predict commercial gas production.

The Appin project and a concurrent exploration corehole project were conducted to provide data to evaluate the Sydney Basin. Results of the evaluation indicate commercial feasibility of methane drainage for natural gas production. A subsequent design was completed for a natural gas production facility utilizing methane drainage technology.

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