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Coalbed methane resource potential and current prospects in Pennsylvania

International Journal of Coal Geology

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DOI: 10.1016/S0166-5162(98)00036-6

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Abstract

Coalbed methane gas content analyses from exploratory coal cores and existing data indicate that gas content generally increases with increasing depth and rank. The coal beds studied are from the Main Bituminous field of Pennsylvania (which currently contains 24 coalbed methane pools) and the Northern and Southern Anthracite coal fields. They range from the Middle Pennsylvanian Allegheny Group to the Late Pennsylvanian-Early Permian Dunkard Group. Previous US Bureau of Mines studies revealed gas contents from 0.4 to 13.8 cm3/g at depths of 99 to 432 m for the bituminous coal beds of the Allegheny Group. More recent core data from the Allegheny Group yielded gas contents from 2.2 to 8.9 cm3/g at depths from 167 to 387 m. In the Anthracite region of eastern Pennsylvania, the little data that are available show that gas content is anomalously high or low. Gas yields from test holes in eastern Pennsylvania are low with or without artificial stimulation mainly due to the lack of a good cleat system. Overall estimates of coalbed methane resources indicate there may be 1.7 Tm3 (61 Tcf) of gas-in-place contained in the Northern Appalachian coal basin. The amount of technically recoverable coalbed methane resources is projected by the US Geological Survey National Oil and Gas Resource Assessment Team [US Geological Survey National Oil and Gas Resource Assessment Team, 1996. 1995 National assessment of United States oil and gas resources-results, methodology, and supporting data, US Geological Survey Digital Data Series DDS-30, CD-ROM, Denver, CO, 80 pp.] and Lyons [Lyons, P.C., 1997. Central-northern Appalachian coalbed methane flow grows. Oil and Gas Journal 95 (27) 76-79] at 0.3 Tm3 (11.48 Tcf). This includes portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and a small part of Maryland. Consequently, a mapping investigation was conducted to evaluate the regional geology of the bituminous coal-bearing intervals in southwestern Pennsylvania and its influence on coalbed methane potential. Phase I of this study involved the entire Pennsylvanian coal-bearing interval of southwestern Pennsylvania. Phase II focused on a stratigraphic delineation and evaluation of Allegheny Group coal beds and associated sandstones. Several prospective coal beds and associated facies relationships with channel-fill sandstones were determined. Possible non-coal scenarios for coalbed methane include erosional contacts between coal beds and overlying channel-fill sandstones and areas of stacked channel-fill sandstones. Repetitive sequences of coal accumulation are stacked, commonly with shale interburden, and are also potential coalbed methane targets. Additional Pennsylvania Geological Survey drilling/coalbed methane sampling occurred in Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Greene, Lawrence, Somerset, and Washington Counties. Raw coalbed methane desorption data tables/graphical displays of gas contents versus depth, thickness, and time, and average composition and heating values from coal beds of the Allegheny Group to the Dunkard Group are available at the Pennsylvania Geological Survey. Further information on cross-sections, isopleth maps, isopach maps, raw drillhole data, and ownership issues can also be obtained from the same source.A mapping of the regional geology of the bituminous coal-bearing intervals in southwestern Pennsylvania reveal several prospective coal beds and associated facies relationships with channel-fill sandstones. Possible non-coal scenarios for coalbed methane include erosional contacts between coalbeds and overlying channel-fill sandstones and areas of stacked channel-fill sandstones. Repetitive sequences of coal accumulation are stacked, commonly with shale interburden. and are also potential coalbed methane targets.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Coalbed methane resource potential and current prospects in Pennsylvania
Series title:
International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI:
10.1016/S0166-5162(98)00036-6
Volume
38
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Sci B.V.
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
International Journal of Coal Geology
First page:
137
Last page:
159