DOE's Unconventional Gas Research Programs 1976-1995
SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region

3.3.1. Key Questions Related to Coal Seam Methane

In the late 1970s, very little quantitative information was available related to the gas content of the Nationís coal seams, beyond those being actively mined. The information that was available was not public or easily accessed.

Because coal seams had not been seen as a natural gas reservoir, no data were available on how coal seam wells should be drilled and completed, how the reservoir should be stimulated, or how coal seams could be economically produced. Key questions concerning the potential of coal seam gas as a source of domestic supply were:

  • What is the distribution of coal seam methane?
  • How does the quality and producibility of coal seam methane vary with location?
  • What are cost effective ways of recovering this methane resource?
  • What are cost effective ways of utilizing this methane given its quality and location relative to markets?
  • How can methane that is being drained from coal seams prior to mining be captured and conserved?
  • How can methane recovery from coal seams be modeled to obtain predictions of well productivity and resource recovery?
  • How will systems for systems and techniques for producing methane from coal seams work under actual field conditions?
  • What are the legal and institutional constraints on development of coal seam gas in the US?
The ranges of coal seam gas content, gas quality, and geographic location of coalbed methane sources made it apparent that no single solution would be appropriate for all cases.

Earlier Bureau of Mines work had indicated that economic gas recovery/utilization might be possible via direct pipeline injection, conversion to LNG, use for on-site power generation, or petrochemical production. In some cases, it was felt that off-the-shelf technology could be modified for these applications (i.e., gas turbines, LNG production units, and ammonia production units).

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Cover Page

Executive Summary

1. Background

2. GRI Research into Unconventional Gas Resources

3. Structure of the Enhanced Gas Recovery Program (EGR)

  • 3.1. Eastern Gas Shales Program (1976-1992)

  • 3.1.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.1.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.1.3. Key Eastern Gas Shales Projects
  • 3.1.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.1.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE and Other Research Related to Eastern Gas Shales

  • 3.2. Western Gas Sands Program (1978-1992)

  • 3.2.1. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.2.2. Program Design and Overview of Major Projects
  • 3.2.3. Key Western Gas Sands Projects
  • 3.2.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.2.5. Subsequent Developments in DOE Research Related to Tight Gas Sands

  • 3.3. Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Program (1978-1982)

  • 3.3.1. Key Questions Related to Coal Seam Methane
  • 3.3.2. MRCP Program Design and Overview
  • 3.3.3. Key Methane Recovery from Coalbeds Projects
  • 3.3.4. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.3.5. Subsequent Research Related to Methane Recovery from Coalbeds

  • 3.4. Deep Source Gas Project (1982-1992)

  • 3.4.1. Key Deep Source Gas Projects
  • 3.4.2. Highlights of Important Results

  • 3.5. Methane Hydrates Program (1982-1992)

  • 3.5.1. Methane Hydrates Workshop (March 1982)
  • 3.5.2. Key Questions and Related R&D Goals
  • 3.5.3. Program Design
  • 3.5.4. Major Contracted Gas Hydrates Projects
  • 3.5.5. Methane Hydrate Research Efforts of METC's In-House Organization
  • 3.5.6. Highlights of Important Results
  • 3.5.7. Subsequent Developments in Methane Hydrate Research

  • 3.6. Secondary Gas Recovery (1987-1995)

  • 3.6.1. Key Objectives and Program Design
  • 3.6.2. Major Projects
  • 3.6.3. Major Results

    4. Elements of Spreadsheet Bibliographies (by Program)

    Appendix A: Details of Major 1970-1980 Unconventional Gas Resource Assessments

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