Variations in CBM Produced Water Volumes

The Powder River and San Juan basins have seen the most CBM development, followed by the Raton Basin, as illustrated by the number of wells operating in each basin (Table 2.1). The Piceance and Uinta basins have seen significantly less CBM development. Water and gas production curves from the Powder River, San Juan, Piceance, and Raton basins illustrate variations in CBM produced water volumes. These variations illustrate the difficulty in predicting water and gas production volumes for a basin through time due to interplay of natural hydrogeological characteristics of the basins, the number of existing and new wells, and operator pumping rates.

The greatest volume of water production occurs in the Powder River Basin (Figure 2.8a, b), where the methane-producing coalbeds are water filled, relatively porous and permeable,

TABLE 2.1 Water and gas production information for CBM in the Powder River, San Juan, and Raton Basins in 2008 (data for the Piceance and Uinta basins are from 2006 and 2000, respectively)

Basin

State

Start Date

Depth (feet) to Coalbeds for Methane Production

Estimated Water Production (million barrels)

Estimated Gas Production (million MCF)

Approx. No. of CBM Wells

Estimated Water-to-Gas Ratio (barrels/MCF)

Powder River

WY, MT

1989, 1998

450–4,500

718

435.2

18,000

1.65

San Juan

CO, NM

1985

Up to 4,000

46

1,210.5

7,500

0.038

Raton

CO, NM

Early 1980s

Up to 2,400

131

147.2

3,400

0.89

Piceance

CO

1989

Up to 6,000

0.30

0.25

110

1.2a

Uinta

UT

Early 1990s

4,200–4,400

31

73.8

1,255

0.42

aRelatively high water-to-gas ratio in 2006 does not reflect long-term CBM production trends in the Piceance Basin. Refer to Figure 2.8d.

SOURCES: Powder River Basin data adapted from Meredith et al. (2010); wogcc.state.wy.us (accessed March 5, 2010); and C.D. Frost, presentation to the committee, June 2, 2009. Raton Basin data adapted from Hemborg (1998); Topper (2009); and M. Fesmire, presentation to the committee, June 2, 2009. San Juan Basin data adapted from S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. (2006); Topper (2009); M. Fesmire, presentation to the committee, June 2, 2009; and D. Mankiewicz, presentation to the committee, June 2, 2009. Piceance Basin data adapted from S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc. (2007), and Topper (2009). Uinta Basin data adapted from Rice and Nuccio (2000) and EPA (2004).



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