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  • Proppants raise the curve for coalbed methane production


    B. Reib

    Adding proppant in targeted completions can improve well profitability, according to public data from 100 wells in Alberta’s Horseshoe Canyon coalbed methane field. As North American demand for natural gas rises, resulting in higher prices, unconventional gas resources become more economically attractive. This is driving the exploitation of coalbed methane fields. Drilling for coalbed methane in Alberta, Canada’s gas-prone basin (Fig. 1) has grown rapidly in the last two years, from 710 wells drilled in 2003, to 3,000 in 2005, and 3,500 wells projected for 2006. Most of this activity involves exploiting the pervasive, multiple seams of shallow coal beds. These gas-bearing coals are generally referred to as the Horseshoe Canyon family of geological formations. The Alberta Geological Survey estimates these formations contain more than 185 Tcf (5.2 Tm3) of dry, sweet methane. A recent report estimates only 5% of Alberta’s coalbed methane resources (26 Tcf or 0.73 Tm3) are recoverable.

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