Permeability prediction of coalbed methane reservoirs during primary depletion

Shimin Liu, Satya Harpalani

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152 Scopus citations


Permeability increase in coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs during primary depletion, particularly in the San Juan Basin, is a well accepted phenomenon. It is complex since it is influenced by stress conditions and coal matrix shrinkage associated with gas desorption. Understanding the variations in coal permeability is critical in order to reliably project future gas production, or consider other gas migration issues in the reservoir. Since sorption-induced strain plays a critical role in changing the permeability, typically observed, the theoretical strain model should be incorporated into the permeability prediction models. An effort is made in this paper to couple the recently developed Liu and Harpalani sorption-induced strain model with various permeability models. The model first calculates the theoretical coal matrix shrinkage strain and, using the calculated strain, various commonly used permeability models are applied to two sets of field data. The results of the coupled models show that the agreement between the predicted permeability and that observed in the field is very good. The merit of the coupled models is that it can theoretically predict the permeability with less experimental work, making it a more time efficient and economical technique compared to models used in the past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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