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Technical Paper: Utilizing Current Technologies to Understand Permeability, Stress Azimuths and Magnitudes and their Impact on Hydraulic Fracturing Success in a Coal Seam Gas Reservoir

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 133066
Presentation Date: 2010
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Abstract

In coal seam gas (CSG), also known as coalbed methane (CBM), appraisal, the development potential of a play requires an understanding of the interrelationship between stress and permeability, critical elements in defining deliverability and hydraulic fracturing effectiveness. Unfortunately, the interdependency of these variables may not emerge until the post-treatment evaluation of a hydraulic fracturing treatment. Herein is an example from the Walloon Subgroup (WSG), Surat Basin, where regional data were used to target a small, localized, structural setting for CSG appraisal and subsequent hydraulic fracturing.

Due to the rank of the WSG coals in this area, the cleat network was deemed to be immature and permeability is understood to be derived from exogenetic fracturing from external stresses acting on the coal, creating a unidirectional fracture network. The fractures are commonly constrained to brittle lithologies and truncate at bedding boundaries, while evidences exist of minor low angle faulting in non-reservoir lithologies. Eventually, the local stress regime was determined from the petrophysical log data, injection stress testing, and subsequent one-dimensional (1D) mechanical earth model (MEM). Ultimately, these data support the proposed reservoir and stress environment.

We will show how data were acquired, evaluated and integrated to support the development of the 1D MEM and aided the interpretation of the hydraulic fracture treatment results. While localized, the results of this evaluation indicate a potential pitfall can exist in some CSG environments. This case illustrates a scenario where stress and dominant permeability axes can be properly aligned to maximize hydraulic fracture effectiveness, but where sub-optimal stress magnitudes prevent achieving the full benefit of the hydraulic fracturing process.

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