One of the horizons of interest for future unconventional resource development is deep (greate than ~5,000 ft) coalbed methane (CBM) production. Unfortunately, coal permeability is highly sensitive to changes in stress leading to the belief of limited permeability in deep coals. However, this conclusion is generally based on the assumption of constant pore volume compressibility of a coal's porosity/cleat system during changing stress conditions.
Modeling the evolution of permeability within potential deep coal reservoirs is highly dependent on this assumption of constant or variable pore volume compressibility. This paper shows how this assumption affects modeled permeability changes and that permeability in deep coals may maintain much higher values during production than previously suggested. Utilizing prior work and data, ideas are reorganized into an alternative view of deep CBM permeability.
The modeled compressibility and permeability results are then applied to the simulation of deep CBM reservoirs to discover the practical difference of the compressibility assumption on a coal's simulated production. Simulations show significant difference in production based on the two assumptions. Application of the simulation results may provide a justification for exploration into deeper CBM reservoirs.