• Class and Course

    Unconventional Gas Reservoirs - Focus on Coalbed Methane and Introduction to Shale and Tight Sand Reservoirs

    As we deplete conventional gas reserves, unconventional gas resources are becoming increasingly important to U.S. and international energy supplies. For example, U.S. dry gas reserves have increased annually over the past 12 years, mainly due to reserves growth from shale gas. Today, shales, coal beds, and low-permeability (tight) sandstones, combined, account for approximately 50% of the U.S. natural gas production. From ~365 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per year in 2000, shale gas production grew to about 5.5 trillion cubic feet per year (Tcf/yr) by year-end 2010 when it accounted for approximately 25% of all U.S. dry gas production. In 2009, U.S. production of coalbed methane, alone, exceeded 1.9 trillion cubic ft (Tcf), which was ~9% of the total U.S. dry gas production, and coalbed methane reserves were 18.6 Tcf, or 6.8% of the total U.S. dry gas reserves.

    Internationally, there are tremendous unconventional gas resources that have been subject of only cursory or no assessments and have been exploited only locally. While resources of unconventional gas are very large, economically recoverable volumes (reserves) are much smaller, due to low reservoir permeability. Because most unconventional gas reservoirs have low matrix permeability, natural fractures may be necessary for economic production rates. In addition to understanding of the role of natural fractures in fluid flow, economic production of unconventional gas reservoirs requires adequate gas prices and application of cuttingedge technology. Knowledge of the optimal drilling, completions, fracture stimulation techniques, and production methods are necessary for successful exploitation of specific low-permeability reservoirs.

    Day 1

    Introduction to Unconventional Gas Reservoirs and Coalbed Gas - In day one, participants will learn the definition of unconventional gas reservoirs, where they occur, the magnitude and economic significance of their resources, and their potential for meeting future energy needs, worldwide. Then, we will introduce coalbed gas and discuss coal depositional systems and their effects on reservoir continuity and geometry. Finally, we will address the tools/methods used to map coal beds.

    Day 2

    Coalbed Reservoir Description - In day two, participants will learn about coal composition, thermal maturation and hydrocarbon generation, and we will review coalbed gas composition. Then, we will discuss coal reservoir properties, permeability and effects of in-situ stress on permeability. The importance of hydrology in coalbed gas occurrence, production, and economics will be described. Participants will complete exercises involving well log correlation and evaluation of coal reservoirs.

    Day 3

    Coalbed Gas Resource Delineation and Engineering Approaches to Gas Exploitation - In day three, we will cover resource delineation and volumetric assessments. Then, we will briefly review methods of drilling completing, stimulating and producing coalbed gas wells, including methods of water lift and disposal. Finally, we will summarize 2 or 3 mature, contrasting coalbed gas plays, using examples from the Fruitland, Pottsville and Ft. Union plays. Participants will work in teams to complete an exercise involving coalbed gas exploration concepts and volumetric assessment of in-place gas resources.

    Day 4

    Shale Gas (and Oil) Reservoirs and Plays - In day four, we will review shale gas resources in the U.S. and worldwide, as well as the historic development of this rapidly growing resource. Next, we will investigate the geologic controls on shale gas occurrence and producibility. Then, we will describe the drilling, completion, and stimulation methods used in shale gas plays. Finally, we will compare contrasting thermogenic and biogenic shale gas plays, using as examples the Barnett, Antrim, and Eagle Ford Shales.

    Day 5

    Tight Sand Gas Reservoirs and Plays - In day five, we will review tight sand gas resources in the U.S. and worldwide, as well as the historic development of this mature resource. Next, we will investigate the geologic controls on tight sand occurrence and producibility. Then, we will describe the drilling, completion, and stimulation methods used in tight sand gas plays. Participants will com-plete and exercise demonstrating facies controls on reservoir performance.

    This course is designed to benefit multidisciplinary asset teams including: geologists and geophysicists; reservoir, drilling, production, completion and facilities engineers; and man-agers.

    • World resources of unconventional gas

    • Origins of gas in self-sourcing unconventional reservoirs;

    • Thermal maturation and hydrocarbon generation;

    • Thermogenic vs. biogenic self-sourcing gas reservoirs;

    • Descriptions of unconventional gas reservoirs;

    • Controls on gas occurrence and producibility;

    • Roles of natural fractures in unconventional gas production;

    • The roles of hydrology in water production and management;

    • Drilling, completion, and stimulation methods;

    • Exploitation around the world, with focus on mature U.S. basins

    • Examples of mature unconventional gas plays

    Engineering or Geoscience Degree or Unconventional Gas Involvement

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