What is the average life expectancy of a coal bed methane gas well?

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  • 8 years ago
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    Coal bed methane wells are unique. There is no good "average life expectancy" and coal bed methane wells from basin to basin and formation to formation will have dramatically different production profiles, and wells from different fields in the same basin can have very different production profiles.

    I can find a couple of examples to illustrate this:

    Powder River Basin in Wyodak and Big George have an expected life of about 8 years.

    http://gswindell.com/sp107308.htm

    An example from the Fruitland Coal of the San Juan Basin shows that even after 13 years the well is actually producing more gas per day than when it was first drilled. Looking at the decline curve I would estimate the well could produce for another ten or twelve years, or more, depending on the rate at which the well is considered uneconomic to continue producing. So 25 years might be reasonable for that example.

    go to page 144 to see the decline curve: http://www.spe.org/industry/docs/PRMS_Guidelines_N...

    There are many variables in the production from coal bed methane. I will attempt to list a few:

    1. Price of methane

    2. Cost of lease operation

    3. Percentage and volume of water production

    4. Depth of the coal

    5. Rank of the coal

    6. Porosity of the coal (even though the methane is adsorbed, the porosity contributes surface area for adsorption)

    7. Amount of fracturing (cleats) in the coal

    8. Amount of water in the coal - there are dry coal beds.

    9. Pressure

    10. Temperature

    11. Type of well, horizontal or vertical

    12. Grade of the coal (mineral content)

    13. Lithology of adjoining beds (some coals are interbedded with sandstones or silt that hold free gas)

    14. Technical skill of the operator

    15. Gas composition (high CO2 or H2S will be detrimental, while high ethane or butane will be favorable)

    Source(s): geologist
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