Coal is not an inert reservoir rock and reacts to gas des-orbed from its surface. Coal matrix shrinks as gas is desorbed, increasing cleat width and, therefore, permeability. Very few coal matrix shrinkage data have been reported in the literature so a series of experiments was undertaken to measure such data at reservoir pressures, temperatures, and 100% relative humidity. Strain gages were affixed to the coal sample in the face and butt cleat directions as well as the vertical direction. This work reports measured deformations of a sample of high volatile C bituminous coal from the San Jan Basin during sorption and desorption of first methane then CO2. A pressure cycle was also run with helium, a nonsorbing gas, to determine mechanical compliance of the sample. Observed strain gage behaviors are discussed and shrinkage coefficients for both gases reported. Matrix shrinkage was found to correlate with gas content rather than pressure, confirming the work of a previous investigator. Shrinkage coefficients varied more among replicate gages aligned in the same direction than between gages in different directions. Anisotropic shrinkage effects are discussed. Using a matchstick geometry model, equations are derived for permeability change due to matrix shrinkage. Coefficients reported here are used in example calculations of absolute permeability and porosity increases during coalbed depletion.

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