Case studies can be instructive in the evaluation of other coalbed methane (CBM) development opportunities. The San Juan basin, located in New Mexico and Colorado in the southwestern U.S. (Figure 1), is the most prolific CBM basin in the world. It produces more than 2.5 Bscf/D from coals of the Cretaceous Fruitland formation, which is estimated to contain 43 to 49 Tscf of CBM in place. In the 1970s, after years of encountering gas kicks in these coals, operators recognized that the coal seams themselves were capable of commercial gas rates. CBM development benefited greatly from drilling and log data compiled from previous wells targeting the deeper sandstones and an extensive pipeline infrastructure that was built to transport conventional gas. These components, along with a U.S. federal tax credit and the development of new technologies such as openhole-cavity completions, fueled a drilling boom that resulted in more than 3,000 producing CBM wells by the end of 1992. The thickest Fruitland coals occur in a northwest/southeast trending belt located in the northeastern third of the basin. Total coal thickness in this belt locally exceeds 100 ft and individual coal seams can be more than 30 ft thick. The coals originated in peat swamps located landward (southwest) of northwest/southeast trending shoreline sandstones of the underlying Pictured Cliffs formation. The location of the thickest coals (Figure 1) coincides with the occurrence of overpressuring, high gas content, high coal rank, and high permeabilities in the San Juan fairway ("fairway"). The overpressuring is artesian in origin and is caused by water recharge of the coals through outcrops along the northern margin of the basin. This generates high vertical pressure gradients, ranging from 0.44 to 0.63 psi/ft, which allow a large amount of gas to be sorbed to the coal. Coal gas in the San Juan basin can contain up to 9.4% CO2 and 13.5% C2 . Chemical analyses suggest that thermogenic gases have been augmented by migrated thermogenic and secondary biogenic gas sources, resulting in gas contents ranging up to 700 ft 3 /ton. Coal rank in the fairway ranges from medium- to low-volatile bituminous and roughly coincides with those portions of the basin that were most deeply buried. Southwest of the fairway, Fruitland coals are typically 20 to 40 ft thick and are considerably underpressured with vertical pressure gradients in some areas of less than 0.20 psi/ft. The low gradients are attributable to low permeabilities, low recharge rates along the southern rim of the basin, and hydraulic isolation from the fairway area.
A useful first step in the characterization of any new coal area is to compare its characteristics with those of successful CBM projects. Table 2 summarizes the characteristics of several successful projects in the US and includes parameters related to reservoir properties, gas production, gas resources, and economics. The table shows that successful projects have many similarities, including high permeabilities and high gas resource concentration; however, the table does not include aspects such as government incentives or high-value markets, which could elevate a marginal project to commercial status.
This page pulls together technology-focused articles from various departments within JPT. Hydrocarbon processing and treating systems often require large and elaborate surface facilities. When operating in challenging locations, such as deep water or the Arctic, these systems can be expensive. Most underground gas-storage facilities are depleted reservoirs. What makes depleted reservoirs attractive is the presence of existing wells used to produce the reservoir, plus the geologic and engineering knowledge acquired during the development of the field. This paper uses a simulation model to evaluate and compare the thermal efficiency of five different completion design cases during the SAGD circulation phase in the Lloydminster formation in the Lindbergh area in Alberta, Canada. This paper covers the staged field-development methodology, including analysis and evaluation of various development concepts, that enabled the company to optimize both completion design and artificial-lift selection, reducing downtime and lowering operating costs by nearly 50%. The cost reduction per barrel of oil produced and the extension of sustainable production life by optimization have been two major areas of focus, but the investments in new technologies and recovery-improvement research have not received sufficient attention during the downturn. Machine-learning methods have gained tremendous attention in the last decade. The underlying idea behind machine learning is that computers can identify patterns and learn from data with minimal human intervention. This is not very different from the notion of automatic history matching. This paper discusses studies conducted on two California offshore fields that may be abandoned in the near future. These studies examined the feasibility of repurposing these fields for offshore gas storage by using their reservoir voidage and existing pipeline facilities. This paper investigates novel approaches to sour-gas treatment for use in the Middle East that are outside the common oil and gas market and compares them with traditional techniques. The operator piloted a new well-completion design combining inflow-control valves (ICVs) in the shallow reservoir and inflow-control devices (ICDs) in the deeper reservoir, both deployed in a water-injector well for the first time in the company’s experience. This paper shares experience gained in the Ashalchinskoye heavy-oil field with a two-wellhead SAGD modification.
JPT Technology Minute Poll: To Which of the Top Five UN Sustainability Development Goals Do You Think the Oil and Gas Industry Will Contribute the Most? Flaring and emissions challenges have recently made news headlines around the world. The goal of this article is to engage you with this important topic by presenting a selection of recent SPE papers which address these challenges through various approaches. Operators face a dilemma in balancing the need for mud weight (MW) to remain below the fracture gradient to avoid losses, while also providing sufficient density to block influxes into the well. JPT Technology Minute Poll: Which Technology Would You Choose for Offshore Compression?
Africa (Sub-Sahara) A drillstem test was performed on the Zafarani-2 well--located about 80 km offshore southern Tanzania. Two separate intervals were tested, and the well flowed at a maximum of 66 MMscf/D of gas. Statoil (65%) is the operator, on behalf of Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, with partner ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Tanzania (35%). The FA-1 well--located in 600 m of water in the Foum Assaka license area offshore Morocco--was spudded. The well targets Eagle prospect Lower Cretaceous resources. Target depth is 4000 m. Kosmos Energy (29.9%) is the operator, with partners BP (26.4%),
Africa (Sub-Sahara) United Hydrocarbon International finished drilling the Belanga North-1 exploration well located in Doba basin in southern Chad. The well was drilled to a total depth of 1392 m, and encountered three oil-bearing sand intervals--two in the targeted Upper Cretaceous "YO" sands and one in an untested shallower sand. United Hydrocarbon (100%) is the operator. Asia Pacific China National Offshore Oil Corporation discovered natural gas in the Qiongdongan basin, South China Sea. Well Lingshui 17-2--located in the east Lingshui sag portion of the basin at an average water depth of 1450 m--was drilled and completed to a depth of 3510 m. Lingshui 17-2 encountered a gas reservoir with a total thickness of approximately 55 m. Statoil Australia Theta has drilled and completed the Oz-Alpha 1 exploration well in the southern Georgina basin in the Northern Territory, Australia.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Sonangol's deepwater Orca-1 well encountered oil in the presalt layer of Block 20/11 in the Cuanza basin offshore Angola. The well reached a measured depth of 12,703 ft. Initial well tests saw flow rates of 16.3 MMcm/D of gas and 3,700 BOPD. Asia Pacific Premier Oil's Kuda Laut-1 well in Indonesia's Tuna production sharing contract has encountered 183 net ft of oil-bearing reservoir and 327 net ft of gas-bearing reservoir. Following evaluation operations, the well will be sidetracked to drill the Singa Laut prospect in an adjacent fault block. Premier is the operator (65%), with partner Mitsui Oil Exploration Company (35%). Philippines National Oil Company (PNOC) has begun drilling operations on its Baragatan-1 exploration well on service contract 63, offshore Palawan Island, west of the Philippines, using the Naga 5 jackup rig.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) BG Group discovered gas in the Taachui-1 well and sidetrack in Block 1, offshore Tanzania. The drillship Deepsea Metro Idrilled Taachui-1 close to the western boundary of Block 1, then sidetracked the well and drilled to a total depth of 4215 m. The well encountered gas in a single gross column of 289 m within the targeted Cretaceous reservoir interval. Net pay totaled 155 m. Estimates of the mean recoverable gas resources are around 1 Tcf. Statoil (65%) and co-venturer ExxonMobil (35%) made a sixth discovery--the Piri-1 well--in Block 2 offshore Tanzania. Piri-1 was drilled by drillship Discoverer Americas, at a water depth of 2360 m.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Sahara Group discovered hydrocarbons in three wells drilled in Block OPL 274, located onshore in Nigeria's Edo State. Olugei-1 was drilled to a measured depth of 4537 m and encountered five hydrocarbon zones, with 33 m of net pay. Oki-Oziengbe South 4 was drilled to a measured depth of 3816 m and encountered 64.3 m of net pay in 13 hydrocarbon-bearing zones. Oki-Oziengbe South 5 was drilled to a measured depth of 3923 m and encountered 91 m of net pay in 19 reservoirs. Sahara Group (100%) is the operator. Asia Pacific Sino Gas & Energy Holdings (SGE) flowed gas (coalbed methane) from its first horizontal well in the Linxing production sharing contract (PSC) in China's Shanxi province.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Oil samples have been recovered in the FAN-1 exploration well, being drilled offshore Senegal. Elevated gas and fluorescence were encountered in a shallow secondary target, and the presence of oil was confirmed by an intermediate logging program. Oil samples from thin sand were collected by a wireline formation tester for further analysis. The well will be deepened to a planned total depth of approximately 5000 m. Cairn is the operator (40%), with partners ConocoPhillips (35%), FAR (15%), and Senegalese national oil company Petrosen (10%). A drillstem test of BG Group's Mzia-3 well--located in Block 1, offshore southern Tanzania, at a water depth of around 1800 m--reached a maximum sustained flow rate of 101 MMscf/D of natural gas. The Mzia prospect is a multilayered field of Upper Cretaceous age with a gross gas column estimated at more than 300 m.