Potential New Sources of Natural Gas
- Leo A. Schrider (U.S. DOE) | Robert L. Wise (U.S. DOE)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1980
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 703 - 716
- 1980. Not subject to copyright. This document was prepared by government employees or with government funding that places it in the public domain.
- 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2 Well Completion, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 5.2.3 Geochemical Characterization, 5.8.1 Tight Gas, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.8.3 Coal Seam Gas, 5.7.5 Economic Evaluations, 3 Production and Well Operations, 6.5.4 Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 5.1.5 Geologic Modeling, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 4.6.2 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), 5.8.2 Shale Gas
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The U.S. DOE's gas resource program aims at resolving existing technological barriers to effective recovery of natural gas from Devonian shale and methane from coalbeds. Upon completion of these projects, DOE expects the technology developed jointly with industry to result in wide-scale recovery and use of these new sources of natural gas.
Natural gas continues to be one of the major sources of energy produced and used in the U.S. Declining gas reserves and curtailment of supplies have reemphasized the major influence this energy source has on the U.S. economy. The U.S. DOE is investigating several options for increasing the supply, including a program for unconventional gas recovery (UGR). Four UGR projects currently are being assessed: western tight gas sands, geopressured reservoirs, Devonian shales, and methane from coalbeds. Both the Devonian shale and methane from-coalbeds projects are paramount in this assessment, since they underlie a large section of the U.S. The eastern (Devonian) shales contain a vast, essentially unexplored volume of natural gas. This area could represent new gas recovery from approximately 250,000 sq miles throughout the U.S. Studies by the government and industry have been focused on shale characterization to determine the magnitude of potential gas reserves and technology development needed to improve current state-of the-art stimulation techniques. The initial R and D results have shown promise and point out the technology needed for successful development. The goal of the methane-from-coalbeds project is to provide natural gas from coal seams. While coal itself is recognized as a major energy source, it also contains vast quantities of methane gas. This methane source is not new, since coal mine operators have been aware of its presence and release into the atmosphere during mining operations. Technology studies are being conducted to learn the production potential of this methane and to show how this gas potential of this methane and to show how this gas may be put to widespread use.
The Devonian shales of the Appalachian, Michigan, and Illinois basins have produced natural gas since the 1800's. These shales in the eastern U.S. (Fig. 1) contain a high volume of gas. Independent estimates of the recoverable gas range from 3 Tcf to several hundred times that amount. To date, the gas produced from these shales has been limited to an produced from these shales has been limited to an estimated 2.5 Tcf because of the unpredictable behavior and economics shown by existing Devonian shale wells. Similarly, these uncertainties have restricted private-sector R and D funding and development of technology needed for Devonian shale gas production.
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