A Review on Recent Advances in the Numerical Simulation for Coalbed-Methane-Recovery Process
- Xiaorong R. Wei (University of Queensland) | Guoxiong X. Wang (University of Queensland) | Paul Massarotto (University of Queensland) | Sue D. Golding (University of Queensland) | Victor Rudolph (University of Queensland)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- December 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 657 - 666
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.8.6 Naturally Fractured Reservoir, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.10.1 CO2 Capture and Sequestration, 1.2.2 Geomechanics, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.8.3 Coal Seam Gas, 4.6 Natural Gas, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 5.1.5 Geologic Modeling, 5.2.2 Fluid Modeling, Equations of State
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The recent advances in numerical simulation for primary coalbed methane (CBM) recovery and enhanced coalbed-methane recovery (ECBMR) processes are reviewed, primarily focusing on the progress that has occurred since the late 1980s. Two major issues regarding the numerical modeling will be discussed in this review: first, multicomponent gas transport in in-situ bulk coal and, second, changes of coal properties during methane (CH4) production. For the former issues, a detailed review of more recent advances in modeling gas and water transport within a coal matrix is presented. Further, various factors influencing gas diffusion through the coal matrix will be highlighted as well, such as pore structure, concentration and pressure, and water effects. An ongoing bottleneck for evaluating total mass transport rate is developing a reasonable representation of multiscale pore space that considers coal type and rank. Moreover, few efforts have been concerned with modeling water-flow behavior in the coal matrix and its effects on CH4 production and on the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4. As for the second issue, theoretical coupled fluid-flow and geomechanical models have been proposed to describe the evolution of pore structure during CH4 production, instead of traditional empirical equations. However, there is currently no effective coupled model for engineering applications. Finally, perspectives on developing suitable simulation models for CBM production and for predicting CO2-sequestration ECBMR are suggested.
CBM has been recognized as a significant natural gas resource for a long time. Recently, CO2 sequestration in coalbeds for ECBMR has been attracting growing attention because of greater concerns about the effects of greenhouse gases and the emerging commercial significance of CBM.
Reservoir-simulation technology, as a useful tool of reservoir development, has the capability to provide us with an economic means to solve complex reservoir-engineering problems with efficiency. The development of a numerical simulator for CBM-reservoir simulation before the late 1980s has been reviewed by King and Ertekin (1989a, 1989b). This paper will further present the recent advances in this highly active area, focusing on modeling the CBM and ECBMR processes.
Pore Structure and Gas-Diffusion Mechanisms. The pore structure of coal is highly heterogeneous, and the heterogeneity of the pores depends on the coal type and rank (Unsworth et al. 1988, Laxminarayana and Crosdale 1999). Recent studies (Smith and Williams 1984; Gan et al. 1972; Clarkson and Bustin 1999a) suggest that lower-rank coals usually exhibit a bidisperse or multimodal pore structure, with significant fractions of the total pore volume being larger than 30 nm and smaller than 1.2 nm. The commonly assumed pores in coals can be divided into three categories: micropores (<2 nm), mesopores (between 2 and 50 nm), and macropores (>50 nm) (Shi and Durucan 2003a, Cui et al. 2004).
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