President’s Column – May 2003

Title: President’s Column
Author: Bruce Kelso
Publication: The Outcrop, May 2003, p. 3

Mark your calendars! June 10th, 2003 will be here before we know it and this year’s RMAG/PTTC Coalbed Methane Symposium is shaping-up to be an event not to be missed. The Committee is finalizing a schedule of talks to include the following topics:

  • Canadian Attempts and Success
  • Under-pressured San Juan Basin Development
  • Mid-Continent CBM Activity
  • Emerging Plays and Projects
  • Applied Engineering for Better Reservoir Characterization
  • Horizontal Drilling Applications for CBM
  • Rocky mountain Gas marketing Issues

Over the last 25 years, exploration for coalbed methane in the United States has resulted in some 15,000 producing wells that presently account for approximately 7 percent of the U.S.’s gas production. The Powder River and San Juan Basins continue to dominate the development and production of coalbed natural gas resources. In addition to the ever-changing environmental and regulatory issues in the Powder River Basin, industry is continuously being challenged by this maturing play. Numerous areas of Wyodak development on the eastern margin of the basin are experiencing incredibly steep production declines (50 to 70%), in much shorter timeframes (5 to 6 years) than originally anticipated. The Big George play is meeting success and is anticipated to be as prolific or more so than the Wyodak. Development in the northern portion of the basin is continuing at a slow but steady pace, despite water management issues with discharge into the Powder River drainage. Downspacing to 160-acre development continues to be the theme for the San Juan basin, as production appears to be declining from the highly prolific Fruitland coal “fairway. ”

We are starting to hear encouraging results from projects in the Sand Wash, Green River, Piceance, Gulf Coast, Washington State and Alaskan plays. Mid-continent projects in the Cherokee, Arkoma, Forest City and Illinois basins are gaining momentum. It has been reported that there are an estimated 20 coalbed methane pilots in Canada’s Western Sedimentary basin and results from some are very encouraging. The search for new CBM opportunities is expanding into some of the more obscure coal regions of the U.S., including the Albuquerque, North Park, Kaiparowits, and Black Mesa basins.

While the 2003 RMAG Coalbed Methane Symposium will provide you the opportunity to listen to a dozen or so excellent technical presentations, an even greater benefit of attending will be your ability to network and socialize with 400 to 500 industry professionals who are involved in existing projects, emerging plays, new prospects and technical aspects associated with coalbed natural gas development. Please disseminate the word about this year’s meeting beyond the RMAG membership, tell your co-workers and business associates outside of the Denver region to attend, and watch for meeting details and registration information in future issues of The Outcrop. I look forward to seeing you all on June 10th, 2003.