Title: Coalbed Methane Activity in the Illinois Basin – An Update
Speaker: Steven A. Tedesco, Atoka Coal Labs LLC Englewood, Colorado
Publication: The Outcrop, March 2004, p. 5
Within the Illinois Basin is a series of Pennsylvanian Age deltaic deposits that contain significant coal resources that are found across most of Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky. The basin has undergone intermittent exploration for coalbed methane since 1985. The proximity of the basin to major gas markets has made it attractive to industry for exploiting both coalbed methane and shale gas resources. The individual coal seams are relatively thin (0.3 to 3 meters), have large lateral extent, high volatile C to A bituminous in rank, sulfur values varying from 2% to 11%, ash from 5% to 15%, and moisture contents less than 8%. Gas contents vary from 1 to over 200 scf per ton. Present day coal bed methane production from unmined areas is restricted to Sullivan County, Indiana, and wells producing from abandoned mines. Several pilot projects and test wells have been initiated in 2002 and 2003 with various results. Completion practices have gone from single seam to multiple seams and have encountered a number of difficulties. The coal seams that are the main targets are the Seelyville, Springfield (No. 5), and Herrin (No. 6). Since late 2002, the basin has seen an increase in leasing and drilling activity in response to sustained strong gas prices. State agencies and mineral interest owners have generally been favorable to coalbed methane development. From the present coal thickness, gas content and permeability data sets it is possible to define what areas in the basin have the best potential for coalbed methane and those areas that do not.