Coal is a nearly impermeable rock type for which the production of fluids requires the presence of open fractures. Basin-wide controls on the fractured coal reservoirs of the Black Warrior foreland basin are demonstrated by the variability of maximum production rates from coalbed methane wells. Reservoir behavior depends on distance from the thrust front. Far from the thrust front, normal faults are barriers to fluid migration and compartmentalize the reservoirs. Close to the thrust front, rates are enhanced along some normal faults, and a new trend is developed. The two trends have the geometry of conjugate strike-slip faults with the same ??1 direction as the Appalachian fold-thrust belt and are inferred to be the result of late pure-shear deformation of the foreland. Face cleat causes significant permeability anisotropy in some shallow coal seams but does not produce a map-scale production trend. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.