Technical Paper: Coalbed- and Shale-Gas Reservoirs

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 103514
Presentation Date: 2008
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While the pace of coalbed-gas drilling is starting to slow, shale gas continues to be one of the hottest plays in the US; drilling is expanding rapidly, especially in south-central America.

Annual natural-gas production from coalbed- and shale-gas reservoirs in the US is approximately 2.7 Tscf, which represents 15% of total natural-gas production. Approximately 1.7 Tscf of this gas comes from more than 40,000 coalbed gas wells completed in at least 20 different basins. The remaining 1.0 Tscf comes from more than 40,000 shale-gas wells completed in five primary basins.

Outside the States, more than 40 countries have investigated the potential of coalbed gas, resulting in commercial projects in Australia, Canada, China, and India. No commercial shale-gas projects currently exist outside of the US, but work continues to identify both new shale-gas reservoirs and to add incremental shale-gas production in existing reservoirs. Given that worldwide coalbed-gas resources are estimated to exceed 9,000 Tscf and shale-gas resources are estimated to exceed 16,000 Tscf, it is clear that tremendous potential exists for future growth.

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