Groundwater flow associated with coalbed gas production, Ferron Sandstone, east-central Utah

International Journal of Coal Geology

DOI: 10.1016/S0166-5162(03)00077-6



The flow and distribution of water associated with coalbed gas production in the Ferron Sandstone was characterized utilizing a discrete fracture network model and a porous media model. A discrete fracture network model calculated fluid flux through volumes of various scales to determine scale effects, directional bulk permeability, and connectivity. The mean directional permeabilities varied by less than a factor of 6, with the northwest-southeast direction (face cleat direction) as the most conductive. Northwest southeast directed hydrofracture simulations increased permeability in all directions except the northeast-southwest, although the permeability increase was not more than a factor of 3. Cluster analysis showed that the simulated cleat network was very well connected at all simulated scales. For thick coals, the entire cleat network formed one compartment, whereas thin coals formed several compartments. Convex hulls of the compartments confirmed that the directional bulk permeability was nearly isotropic. Volumetric calculations of the Ferron coal indicated that all the water produced to date can be accounted for from the coal cleat porosity system and does not depend on contributions of water from contiguous units.Flow paths, determined from porous media modeling from recharge to discharge, indicate that the three coalbed gas (CBG) fields assessed in this study could have different groundwater chemical compositions as confirmed by geochemical data. Simulated water production from 185 wells from 1993 to 1998 showed that in 1998 the maximum head drawdown from the Drunkards Wash field was more than 365 m, and the cone of depression extended to within a short distance of the Ferron outcrop. Maximum drawdown in the Helper field was 120 m, and the maximum drawdown in the Buzzards Bench field was just over 60 m. The cone of depression for the Helper field was half the size of the Drunkards Wash field, and the cone of depression for the Buzzards Bench field was limited to just outside the field unit. Water budget calculations from the simulation indicate that none of the stream flows are affected by coalbed gas associated water production. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Groundwater flow associated with coalbed gas production, Ferron Sandstone, east-central Utah
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International Journal of Coal Geology
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