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Modeling the effects of variable coal properties on methane production during enhanced coalbed methane recovery

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2008
Balan, Hüseyin Onur
Most of the coal properties depend on carbon content and vitrinite reflectance, which are rank dependent parameters. In this study, a new approach was followed by constructing a simulation input database with rank-dependent coal properties published in the literature which are namely cleat spacing, coal porosity, density, and parameters related to strength of coal, shrinkage, swelling, and sorption. Simulations related to enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) recovery, which is the displacement of adsorbed CH4 in coal matrix with CO2 or CO2/N2 gas injection, were run with respect to different coal properties, operational parameters, shrinkage and swelling effects by using a compositional reservoir simulator of CMG (Computer Modeling Group) /GEM module. Sorption-controlled behavior of coalbeds and interaction of coal media with injected gas mixture, which is called shrinkage and swelling, alter the coal properties controlling gas flow with respect to injection time. Multicomponent shrinkage and swelling effects were modeled with extended Palmer and Mansoori equation. In conclusion, medium-volatile bituminous coal rank, dry coal reservoir type, inverted 5-spot pattern, 100 acre drainage area, cleat permeability from 10 to 25 md, CO2/N2 molar composition between 50/50 % and 75/25 %, and drilling horizontal wells rather than vertical ones are better selections for ECBM recovery. In addition, low-rank coals and dry coal reservoirs are affected more negatively by shrinkage and swelling. Mixing CO2 with N2 prior to its injection leads to a reduction in swelling effect. It has been understood that elastic modulus is the most important parameter controlling shrinkage and swelling with a sensitivity analysis.