Overview: Unconventional Recovery (August 2006)
- Stephen Norris (J-W Operating Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 64 - 64
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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I was inspired by a recent broadcast of All Things Considered on Natl. Public Radio and began to think of our industry and what could possibly make a difference in the world—if we, like Bill Gates, had an optimistic belief in technology and management combined with the vast resources of the petroleum industry. Is it possible for us to eliminate some of the top energy-related “diseases”?
The production of greenhouse gases certainly would be high on the list, regardless of whether you believe it is responsible for the recent global-warming trend. (Most of us would agree that it is at least a contributing factor.) So, is it “naïve overreaching” to think that we can affect such a gargantuan problem with current or near-future technology? I think we can help. In this issue, the focus is on technologies that hold at least a promise of a solution, either by offering an alternative to dirtier fuels or by eliminating or reducing some greenhouse gases directly.
Although expensive to produce and technologically challenging, coalbed methane (CBM) is a clean-burning fuel with tremendous potential for replacing some of the more conventional and “dirtier” resources. CBM is found in nearly every sedimentary basin, and current production is limited only by economics, which is negatively affected by water disposal and low production rates. New advances in recovery methods, such as the use of horizontal production and injection wells, could yield huge increases in CBM production.
CO2 storage in deep underground reservoirs is not a new idea, but until recently, very little was known about the storage capacity and viability of such a practice. Recent computer modeling has led to an increased understanding of the trapping mechanisms and suggests optimal injection practices.
CO2 sequestration in gas hydrates may offer a viable long-term storage solution while liberating methane gas to use as fuel. Although still in its infancy, this unconventional technology holds tremendous potential for the industry—and the environment.
I hope you will enjoy reading these paper highlights; and with an optimistic belief in our technology and management and with our vast resources, I know we can make a difference!
Unconventional Recovery additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
SPE 100021 “A Screening Model for CO2 Flooding and Storage in Gulf Coast Reservoirs Based on Dimensionless Groups” by D.J. Wood, U. of Texas at Austin, et al.
SPE 100584 “Evaluation of the Technical and Economic Feasibility of CO2 Sequestration and Enhanced Coalbed-Methane Recovery in Texas Low-Rank Coals” by G.A. Hernandez, SPE, Texas A&M U., et al.
SPE 97266 “Depressurization-Induced Gas Production From Class 1 Hydrate Deposits” by G.J. Moridis, SPE, Lawrence Berkeley Natl. Laboratory, et al.
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