RMAG 2007 Coalbed Methane Symposium

Title: RMAG 2007 Coalbed Methane Symposium

Author: Kristine Peterson

Publication: The Outcrop, July 2007, p. 1, 6, 33

The June 4, 2007 Symposium was attended by 185 attendees. This year’s meeting was convened with the purpose of keeping members up-to-date on recent CBM developments.

Steve Tedesco (Admiral Bay Resources, LLC) led off the presentations with an excellent summary, Coalbed Methane and Gas Shales in the Cherokee Basin. He highlighted the gas market in the basin, noting that finding costs average $1.17/MCF. Building on a historical perspective of CBM and shale gas development in the basin, Steve expanded with the producing characteristics of the approximately 2000 unconventional wells in the basin.

Ed Moritz (Gustavson & Associates) reminded us that exploiting known unconventional resources in many countries is hampered by lack of pipelines, drilling services, and the ability of the consumer to pay for the product. Citing worldwide examples in his address,
Utilization of Stranded Coal Bed Methane, Ed offered possible alternate solutions
to a lack of infrastructure such as the manufacture of Syngas, LNG or fertilizer.

Bruce Kelso, Rick Obernolte, Tom Cavanaugh, and Bob Lamarre.

Greg Twombly build upon Ed’s theme (Resource Development Technology) listing the difficulties of CBM development and deal terms in China (Jixi Coal Bed Methane Project, Sanjiang/Mulenghe Basin, Heilongjaing Province, PRC) before moving to the technical aspects of this complexly faulted Cretaceous coal project featuring net coal thickness in excess of 25 meters.

Wayne Greenberg (Welldog, Inc.) delivered two talks on Welldog’s CBM testing services utilizing Ramen spectroscopy to determine critical desorption pressure. Attendees were treated to a video showing gas desorbing from cleats in the morning session (Video microscopy of methane gas production from a series of typical CBM wells).

Holly Duncan and Dick Robertson enjoy the happy hour following the symposium.

We were brought up to date on several CBM basins with Paul Gagnon reviewing the Latest Learnings From the World’s Largest “Dry” Coalbed Methane Play: Horseshoe Canyon, Southern Alberta, Canada. Paul detailed how the current low-pressure, 9762-well, Horseshoe Canyon play was bypassed for years and required the importation and building of appropriate test equipment in the early stages. Bob Lamarre (Black Diamond Minerals, LLC) brought us up to date on the production characteristics of the 843 wells producing in the Ferron play in his address, What We Have Learned From 14 Years of Production at Drunkard’s Wash Unit, Carbon County, Utah.

Andrew Moses (Pioneer Natural Resources) reviewed the difficulties of sill and dike prediction, (Geologic Controls on CBM Reservoir And Field Development in the Raton Basin, SE Colorado), as well as informed us on development activity in the Raton Basin and Gus Holm, of the Vermejo Park Ranch, detailed how the ranch works with El Paso to develop and monitor its current 700 CBM wells while protecting the ranch’s aquifers (CBM Resource Development in Ecologically Sensitive Environments, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico).

2007 CBM Best Presentation: Bob Lamarre (left) and Bruce Kelso (right) present the Best Presentation award to Andy Moses of Pioneer Natural Resources, for his talk on the Raton Basin .

Genevieve Young (Colorado Geologic Survey) shared plans for the current Southwest Partnership’s Pump Canyon, 640-acre, CO2 injection project pilot, slated to commence this year on depleted ConocoPhillips Fruitland coal leasehold (Why Carbon Storage in Coals?).

Citing how more can be learned from failure than success, Josh Stark (XTO) gave details of the Gibson coals in the Albuquerque Basin Rio Puerco project, including some very interesting 3D image log analysis combined with core pictures (Coalbed Methane Exploration in an Extensional Terrain: Results From the Albuquerque Basin).

Creties Jenkins, P.E., P.G. (DeGolyer & MacNaughton) delivered the Keynote address at lunch in his address, The Role of the Geologist in Unconventional Gas Plays. He encouraged the attendees to acquire and analyze, make robust interpretations and clear recommendations to avoid becoming “problem makers” as opposed to “problem solvers.” Expanding, we were cautioned to use broad geoscience expertise and focused engineering fundamentals in a cross discipline manner combined with good judg­ment.

Session participants were provided with a ballot to select the best presentation, which was awarded to Andrew Moses at the happy hour in the exhibit room after the formal presentations. Seven companies exhibited this year and eighteen sponsors provided funding. Debra Higley of the USGS brought 150 copies of the latest Raton Basin and Black Warrior Basin resource assessments on CD-Rom to be distributed free of charge to the participants.

Many thanks to Co-Chairmen Bruce Kelso and Robert Lamarre for their leadership in making this year’s CBM Symposium a reality.