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Particulars(12 NTR)
2.1 Global Coal Bed Methane Blocks
2.2 Indian Coal Bed Methane Blocks
3.1 Cbm Accumulation Area
3.2 Seismic Response Of CBM Reservior
3.3 Methods Of Prospecting
7.1 Premining Methane Drainage
7.1.1 Horizontal inseam boreholes.
7.1.2 In-mine vertical or inclined (cross-measure) boreholes in the roof and floor.
7.1.3 Vertical wells that have been hydraulically fractured (so-called frac wells).
7.1.4 Short-radius horizontal boreholes drilled from surface
7.2 Postmining Methane Drainage
7.2. 1. The packed cavity method and its variants.

7.2.2 The cross-measure borehole method.

7.2.3 The superjacent method.
7.2.4 The vertical gob well method.
8.1 Hydraufracturing
8.1.1 Numerical Analysis
8.1.2 Method
8.2 CO2 Sequestration


Depletion of conventional resources, and increasing demand for clean energy, forces India to
hunt for alternatives to conventional energy resources. Intense importance has been given for
finding out more and more energy resources; specifically non-conventional ones like CBM, shale
gas & gas hydrates, as gas is less polluting compared to oil or coal. CBM is considered to be one
of the most viable alternatives to combat the situation .
Entrapped methane gas from the porous structure of coal bed during in-situ coalication process
would release into the environment on mining. The capture of caloric valuable methane gas
prior to the mining process is called coalbed methane (CBM), which would result in efcient
energy recovery. Methane gas can entrap 20 times of heat energy as compared to CO2
[1]. Therefore, the emission of methane into the atmosphere is one of the causes of global
warming. Further, methane gas may create a re hazard on mining. Hence, the capture of this gas
from virgin coal mine is essential and it is found to be a promising energy source for
powerproduction. Methane collected during the mining process can be used as natural gas for
domestic purpose or electricity generation in power plants.


2.1 Global: The largest CBM resource bases lie in the former Soviet Union, Canada, China, Australia
and the United States. However, much of the worlds CBM recovery potential remains untapped. In 2006

it was estimated that of global resources totaling 143 trillion cubic meters, only 1 trillion cubic metres
was actually recovered from reserves. This is due to a lack of incentive in some countries to fully
exploit the resource base, particularly in parts of the former Soviet Union where conventional natural gas
is abundant. The United States has demonstrated a strong drive to utilize its resource base. Exploitation in
Canada has been somewhat slower than in the US, but is expected to increase with the development of
new exploration and extraction technologies. The global CBM activities are shown in Fig.1. The
potential for supplementing significant proportions of natural gas supply with CBM is also growing in
China,where demand for natural gas was set to outstrip domestic production by 2010 [3].
2.2India: India is potentially rich in CBM. The major coal fields and CBM blocks in Indian are shown in
Fig 2. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons [4] of India estimates that deposits in major coal fields
(in twelve states of India covering an area of 35,400 km2) contain approximately 4.6 TCM of CBM [5].
Coal in these basins ranges from highvolatile To low-volatile bituminous with high ash content (10 to 40
percent), and its gas content is between 3-16m/ton (Singh, 2002)

Ref. No

Block Name



on the Map






West Bengal










Madhya Pradesh




Madhya Pradesh



II. Nomination Basis




West Bengal




West Bengal


























Madhya Pradesh
































West Bengal















Madhya Pradesh





Madhya Pradesh





Andhra Pradesh















Andhra Pradesh







Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd


Arrow Energy India Pvt. Ltd.


Indian Oil Corporation Ltd


Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.


Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.


Geopetrol International Inc.


Reliance Industries Ltd.


Reliance Energy Ltd.


Essar Oil Ltd.


Tata Power Company Ltd.


Cola India Ltd.



Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd.


EIG Energy Infrastructure Group

Deep Industries Ltd.


GAIL (India) Ltd.


Coalgas Mart LLC.


BP Exploration Alpha Ltd.


Adinath Exim Resources Ltd.


3.1 Coal Bed Methane Accumulation Area
Coalbed methane is stored in coalmine in the forms of adsorbed
state, free gas state and dissolved state. Now, the definition of coalbed methane accumulated
area is still not clear. Wang Zhaofeng defined coalbed methane accumulated area from the gas
outburst perspective in coal mining [4], and classified three kinds of coalbed methane
accumulated areas: (1) in the same coal seam, a mining area that has a obviously higher gas
content than the adjacent mining areas. (2) In the same mining area, a workface that has a
obviously higher gas content than the adjacent workface. (3) in the same workface, a zone
that has a obviously higher gas content than the adjacent zones. But the applicability of this
definition is still disputed. How coalbed methane accumulated area was formed? Many studies
proved that special conditions of generating, storing, trapping are the fundamental reason for
the occurrence of coalbed methane accumulated area. The factors that affect accumulation of
coalbed methane are: sedimentary environment and coal field geological history, coalification
degree, bury depth, permeability of coal seam and wall rock, coal seam outcrop, geology
structure, magma activity, hydrogeology conditions.

3.2 Siesmic Response Of Coal Bed Methane Reservior

When studying the characteristic of outburst coal seam, He Jishan pointed out that[5]: the high
stress gradient and high gas content gradient in coal seam is the main cause for coal mine gas out
burst, that is to say, high gas content is a necessary condition for gas and coal outburst. Gas
content has a relatively big influence on the physical parameters of coal seam, and this is where
the seismic prospection technology for coalbed methane based on. The elastic modulus test
showed that when gas content is big, the elastic modulus will change largely. Commonly, if the
adsorbed gas content increase, the elastic modulus of coal seam will decrease [6]. Poissons ratio
and ultra sound velocity will also change a lot in gas outburst coal seam. Comparing with non-

outburst coal seam, the elastic modulus of gas outburst coal seam can drop to only one third,
while Poissons ratio cans double its value. Ultra sound test shows: the ultra sound velocities of
non-outburst coal seam range between1500~2700m/s, average 2250 m/s. While for the gas
outburst coal seam, the ultra sound velocities are less than 1000m/s, average 640m/s. The ultra
sound velocity of non-outburst coal seam is more than 1.5 times that of gas outburst coal seam
Based on two phase medium wave equation, Yang Shuangan built models according t
o theactual occurrence of coal seam, and simulated the seismic wave field of coalbed methane
accumulated area[9]. The result showed that the reflection wave from coalbed
methaneaccumulated area has the characteristic of longer travel time, smaller amplitude and
lower main frequency, and is obviously different from normal coal seam. The main cause of
this phenomenon is that the cooperation of mineral skeleton and pore fluid of two-phase medium
can reduce the P- wave velocity and lengthen travel time, and reduce the energy of higher
frequencies more drastically, so that redistributed the energy distribution of different frequency
component, move the main frequency towards lower frequency[10] The change of
reflection wave field provide theoretical basis for distinguishing gas outburst region using
travel time, amplitude and frequency change of seismic data, and also provide a possibility for
distinguishing coalbed methane accumulated area using seismic method.
3.3 The main seismic prospecting methods for Coal bed methane

3.3.1 Predicting coalbed methane based on bury depth

In areas with relatively flat surface, the T0 on seismic section represent bury depth of coal
seam. So we can qualitatively predict coalbed methane content according to the interpreted T0
contour based on the actual coalbed methane production data.
3.3.2 Predicting coalbed methane based on impedance inversion
The gas content can affect the seismic velocity and density of coal seam. The richer the gas

content is, the lower the seismic velocity and coal seam density are. If eliminating the affection
of coal seam structure anomaly on impedance, the low impedance zone of coal seam can be
viewed as area that has relatively higher gas content. So, using core data as a constraint, the
seismic velocity and density difference of coal seam, that is, the impedance difference of the
coal seam, can be used to predict the coalbed methane accumulated area
3.3.3 Predicting coalbed methane based on frequency spectrum decomposition
Frequency spectrum decomposition is an interpreting method in frequency domain, it is an
important part of seismic attributes analysis. This technology can extract all the tune amplitudes
and tune phases of each individual discrete frequency in the effective frequency band of
seismic data, and study the variation of thin layer and discontinuity of geological body
through frequency decomposition








developed seismic attributes interpretation method for 3D seismic interpretation and reservoir
prediction [11-14]. When gas content is high, it will attenuate high frequency component of
reflection signal more drastically, and the low frequency anomaly will occur. This anomaly in
frequency will provide basis for predicting coalbed methane accumulated area using frequency
spectrum decomposition technology.
3.3.4 Predicting coalbed methane based on seismic attributes
AVO (amplitude versus offset) technology began in the late 1960s, when the bright spot
technology prevailed [15-17]. Being an important hydrocarbon, lithology and fracture
prospecting method, AVO technology has being widely used in petroleum and natural gas
detection and has a well-rounded theory basis [18]. AVO technology is based on elastic wave
theory, and study the reflection amplitude variation with offset (or, incidence angle) on prestack seismic data to get the relationship between reflect coefficient and offset, and then
analyze the lithology and physical parameters of upper and lower medium rock on both sides
of the reflection interface, then coalbed methane can be detected using seismic amplitude



Coal petrographic evaluation is a microscopic technique typically used to predict the coal
rank, degree of coalification and its type in term of amount and category of macerals.
It describes the coal characterization on the basis of chemical composition. Petrographic
study helps in determination of coal Rank, Gas content, Vitrinite Reflectance and other
parameters which are required to determine CBM potential of particular seam. Proximate and
Ultimate analysis of coal samples (Figure 2) have been predicted/evaluated with reference to
the results of CBM potential of the coal field area.

4.1 Proximate analysis

4.1.1 Determination of moisture content (m)
Coal sample was prepared as per prescribed guideline [IS: 436 (Part l/Section 1) - 1964].
Moisture content of coal was determined using standard test method [IS: 1350 (Part I) 1984]. 1 gram of finely crushed and powdered (-212) air dried coal sample was taken in a
silica crucible and was then placed inside an electronic hot air oven, maintained at 1082C.
The crucible with the coal sample was allowed to be heated in the oven for 1.5 hours. The
crucible with sample was then taken out using tongs and cooled in a dessicator for 15
minutes (Figure 3). Samples after being cooled were weighted. The loss in weight is reported
as moisture (on percentage basis). The calculation was done as:
%Moisture = {(y-z)/(y-x)}*100


X = Weight of crucible (g)

Y = Weight of coal + crucible (g) (before heating)
Z = Weight of coal + crucible (g) (after heating)

4.1.2 Determination of volatile matter content (vm)

Coal sample was prepared as per suggested method [IS: 436 (Part l/Section 1) - 1964].
Moisture content of coal was determined using standard test method [IS: 1350 (Part I) 1984]. 1 gram of finely crushed and powdered (-212) air dried coal sample was taken in a
VM crucible and was placed inside a muffle furnace maintained at 925 10C. The crucible
was then covered with its lid. The heating was carried out for exactly 7 minutes (Figure 4),
The crucible with sample was then taken out using tongs and cooled in air for some time and
then in a dessicator for 15 minutes and weighed again. The calculation is done as:
%VM = {(Y-Z)/(Y-X)}*100
4.1.3 Determination of ash content (a)
Coal sample was prepared as per standard [IS: 436 (Part l/Section 1) - 1964]. Moisture
content of coal was determined using standard test method [IS: 1350 (Part I) - 1984]. 1 gram
of finely crushed and powdered (-212) air dried coal sample was taken in silica crucible.
Crucible was heated at 800C for 1 hour before conduction of test in order to remove any
foreign particles in the crucible. The crucible along with the sample was kept in muffle furnace
at 450C for about 30 minutes (Figure 5). After defined time the temperature of the furnace
was raised to 850 10C and the sample was further heated for about 1 hr. The calculation is
done as:
%ASH = {(Z-X)/(Y-X)}*100
4.1.4 Determination of fixed carbon (fc)
Fixed carbon is the amount left after evaporation of the volatile material, moisture and
ash. Fixed carbon of the sample was determined using the formula as:
%FC= 100- (%M+%VM+%A)
4.1.5 Determination of coal grade

Coal Rank and Grade is generally determined by Vitrinite reflectance of

coal and the governing correlation between volatile matter and Vitrinite
reflectance is (Rice, 1993).
RO % = -2.712 * log(VM) + 5.092
R0 = Vitrinite reflectance (%)
VM = Volatile matter (dry ash free basis) (%)


5.1 Kims Method
Kim predicted CBM resources of coal bed as a function of inherent property and depth of coal
seam using the following empirical equation .
V gas= K o Pno - bT


Where, V is the volume of the methane gas adsorbed per gram of dry ash free coal, cm3 /g
Ko(cm3/gm.atm),b(cm3/gm.0C) and no are constants.
Hydrostatic pressure to depth relation is given as,
Phyd= 0:096 h


Where, h is the depth in meters.

The relation between temperature and depth of the seam is estimated based on the geothermal
gradient of 1.8 1C/100 m and is given by,
T= (1.8*h)/100+ Ts
Where, Ts is the ground temperature, C.


Eq. (1) becomes,

Vgas= (100-%M-%A)(Vm/Vd)[Ko(0.096h)no- 0.014 (1.8h/100+25)]
Where, Vm and Vd are the volume of wet and dry coal, respectively. This volume ratio includes
the effect of moisture content on the adsorption capacity of methane gas in coal seams.
Vm/Vd= 1/(Co+1)


Where, Co (constant) is 0.25.

Ko = 0.8 (FC/VM) + 5.6


Where, FC is the xed carbon,

VM is the volatile matter,
M is the moisture content,
A is the ash content.
Also, no = 0.315 0.01 (FC/VM)


The values of constants in Eqs. (6) and (7) are predicted based on the isotherms of various dry

5.2 Mavors Method

Mavor proposed a correlation [31] for the CBM capacity of coal based on its inherent ash and
moisture fraction. It is given by the following equation,
Vgas = 18.77-23.47 A/(1-M)
Where, M is the moisture content,
A is the ash content.

There are two main methods to extract methane from coal and rockssurface drilling and tunnel
drilling. About the surface drilling, the drilling result will be affected by some limitations if the
drilling across through coal beds and rock stratums at the same time. The quantity of gas will
belimited because the contact area between drilling holes and stratums which these drilling
holes across is small. For the tunnel drilling, there can be a series of drilling holes along the
coal bed within the scope of tunnels. This can increase the contact area between drilling holes
and coal beds and drilling holes don't contact with surrounding rocks. So, the gas in coal beds is
extracted. Only some parts of gas from surrounding rocks will be extracted, these parts of gas
will be filtered by coal beds.


HERE, 1-drift; 2-working space; 3-borhole in coal seam; 4-borehole in rock mass; 5-casing; 6joint; 7 hydrodynamic head control device;
8-high pressure pipe; 9-compressed air branch pipe; 10-methane drainage
manifold; 11-operating console; 12-compressed air manifold; 13-pump; 14Fire water system; 15-methane sensor; 16-geotector; 17-telephone;


7.1 Premining Methane Drainage

Techniques for premining drainage can be broadly classified into four categories:
1. Horizontal inseam boreholes.
2. In-mine vertical or inclined (cross-measure) boreholes in the roof and floor.
3. Vertical wells that have been hydraulically fractured (so-called frac wells).
4. Short-radius horizontal boreholes drilled from surface.
7.1.1 Horizontal Inseam Boreholes
Early work in premining methane drainage was done with short hori-zontal inseam boreholes
(Spindler and Poundstone, 1960). Figure 8.5 shows the two most commonly used variations of
degasification with
inseam horizontal boreholes. Success of the technique is predicated on good coalbed
permeability (=5 mD). The horizontal drilling technique and its application to degas coal seams
are well-documented in published literature (Thakur and Davis, 1977; Thakur and Poundstone,
1980; Thakur et al.,1988).
In highly permeable coal seams, e.g., the Pittsburgh seam of the Appalachian Basin, nearly 50%
of the in situ gas can be removed by this technique prior to mining. The major drawback of this
technique is that only about six months to a yearthe time between development and
longwall extractionis available for degasification.

FIGURE: Degasification of a longwall panel with horizontal boreholes.

7.1.2 In-mine Inclined or Vertical Boreholes
Short vertical or long inclined boreholes have been drilled from an existing mine (or roadways
expressively driven for this purpose) to intersect other coal seams in the gas emission space,

allowing for the seams to be degassed prior to mining. Again, success depends on high
permeability. A far better way to degas these coal seams lying in close proximity to each other is
to use vertical frac wells.
7.1.3 Vertical Frac Wells
Vertical frac wells are ideally suited to highly gassy, deep, low- permeability coal seams where it
takes several years prior to mining to adequately degas the coal. These wells are drilled from the
surface on a
grid pattern over the entire property or only on longwall panels to intersect the coal seam to be
mined in the future. Vertical wells drilled into the coal seam seldom produce measurable amounts
of gas without hydraulic stimulation. High-pressure water (or other fluids) with sand are pumped
into the coal seam to create fractures (Figure 8.6). The fluid (water) is then pumped out, but the
sand remains, keeping the fractures open for gas to escape to the well bore. Under ideal
conditions, if the vertical frac wells are drilled more than 510 years in advance of mining, 60
70% of the methane in the coal seam can be
removed prior to mining.

FIGURE : Vertical frac wells and short radius horizontal boreholes.

Vertical frac wells have been very successful in the Appalachian and San Juan Coal Basins of the
US. They have also been attempted in the UK, Germany, Poland, China, and Australia, but met

with only limited success. Major reasons for the lack of success overseas are cost and lack of
sufficient permeability, demonstrated as follows:
The cost of drilling and hydrofracing a well in Europe and Australia is typically three times
the cost in the US. The cost of permitting and site preparation is also higher. In many countries,
the drilling and
hydrofracing equipment are not conveniently available.
Lower permeability (<1 mD) of many European, Asian, and Australian coal seams contributes
to the limited success of frac wells. Even welldesigned and well-executed frac jobs in Bowen
Basin, Australia,
Were ineffective. A solution for this problem may lie in gas flooding, i.e., injection of an inert
gas such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide to drive methane out (Puri and Yee, 1990). Increased
methane production is,
however, obtained with an increase in the inert gas content of the produced gas. This may affect
the marketing of produced gas adversely.
7.1.4 Short-Radius Horizontal Boreholes
In coal seams with high permeability, methane drainage can be performed with vertical boreholes
drilled vertically from the surface and then turned through a short radius to intersect the coal
seam horizontally. The horizontal extension can be up to 3000 ft. Methane then flows from the
coal seam under its own pressure as shown in Figure 8.6. The technique is well-proven in oil
fields, but it has found a limited application in coal mines for two reasons:
Cost: A short-radius borehole drilled vertically to a depth of 1000 ft and horizontally extended
to 3000 ft may cost up to 0.5 million dollars (US).
Water accumulation in the horizontal borehole: As can be seen in Figure 8.6, any water
accumulation in the horizontal leg of the borehole will seriously inhibit gas production. A
solution may lie in deepening
the vertical leg below the coal seam being drilled and installing a dewatering pump in it as is
commonly done for vertical frac wells.

Of the above four techniques, vertical frac wells have been the most effective option for
premining degasification of most coal seams. Vertical frac wells also allow access to all coal
seams in the gas emission space for predrainage. Such access becomes necessary in highly gassy
mines in order to achieve high productivity. The only possible exception is for shallower, very
permeable coal seams where in-mine drilling is sufficient and more economical. In shallow
formations, the fracture system created by hydrofracing is like a horizontal pancake and is not
very productive because the fracture system does not extend far enough from the borehole .
Strong roof and floor are also necessary to contain the fracture system within the coal seam.
Recently, many short-radius horizontal boreholes drilled from the surface
have been used to recover methane from permeable coalbeds. In the future, CO2 flooding may be
7.2 Postmining Methane Drainage
Techniques for postmining drainage can be broadly classified into four categories.
1. The packed cavity method and its variants.
2. The cross-measure borehole method.
3. The superjacent method.
4. The vertical gob well method.
7.2.1 The Packed Cavity Method and Its Variants
This is a technique primarily used in Russian coal mines. Early methods of methane control
consisted of simply isolating the worked out area in the mine using pack walls, partial or
complete stowing, and plastic sheets or massive stoppings. A network of pipeline which passed
through these isolation barriers was laid in the gob and methane was drained using vacuum
pumps. Lidin (1961) has reviewed several variants of this technique. Figures 8.7 and 8.8 show
typical layouts for caving and partially stowed longwall gobs.
. The ratios generally seem to improve in going from caving (2040%) to fully stowed longwall
gobs (6080%). In Figure 8.7, the gate roads are protected by a pack wall against the gob.
Pipelines are laid through the pack wall to each nearly the center line of the gob, then manifolded
to a larger diameter pipe in the gate road. In Figure 8.8, the partially stowed longwall gob,
cavities are purposely left between alternate packs. The overlying strata in the cavity area crack

and provide a channel for gas to flow into these packed cavities. Pipelines are laid to connect the
cavity with methane drainage mains. Methane extraction is usually done under suction.
7.2.2 Cross-Measure Borehole Method
This is by far the most popular method of methane control on European longwall faces. Figure
8.9 shows a typical layout for a retreating longwall

FIGURE 8.7 Methane drainage by packed cavity method.

FIGURE 8.8 Methane drainage from partially filled gobs.

FIGURE 8.9 Methane drainage with cross-measure boreholes.

face. Boreholes 24 in in diameter and about 80 ft apart are drilled from the tail gate to a depth
of 60500 ft. The angle of these boreholes with respect to horizon varies from 20 to 50, while
the axis of the borehole is inclined to the longwall axis at 1530. At least one hole in the roof is
drilled at each site, but several boreholes in roof and floor can be drilled at varying inclinations
depending on the degree of gassiness. These holes are then manifolded to a larger pipeline
system and gas is withdrawn using a vacuum pump. Vacuum pressures vary from 4 to 120 in of
water gauge. The amount of methane captured by the drainage system, expressed as a percentage
of total methane emission in the section, varies from 30% to 70%. Some typical data for British
and U.S. mines are given by Kimmins (1971) and Thakur et al. (1983), respectively, and are
shown in Table 8.3. The cross-measure borehole method is generally more successful for
advancing longwall panels than it is for retreat faces. The flow from individual boreholes
is typically 20 ft3 /min, but occasionally it can reach 100 ft3 /min for deeper holes. Sealing of the
casing at the collar of the borehole is very important and is usually done with quick-setting
cement. Sometimes,

a perforated liner (a pipe of smaller diameter than the borehole) is inserted in the borehole and
sealed at the collar to preserve the production from the borehole even when it is sheared by rock

7.2.3 The Superjacent Method

This method was mainly used for retreating longwall faces in highly gassy seams in French
mines. Figure 8.10 shows a typical layout. A roadway is driven 70120 ft above the longwall
face, preferably
in an unworkable coal seam. The roadway is sealed and vacuum pressures up to 120 in of water
gauge are
applied. To improve the flow of gas, inclined boreholes in the roof and floor are drilled to
intersect with other gassy coalbeds. If the mining scheme proceeds from the top to the bottom
seams in a basin, the entries in a working mine can be used to drain coal seams at lower levels.
Methane flow from these entries is high, averaging 7001000 ft /min for highly gassy seams.
Nearly 50% of total emissions have been captured using the superjacent method.

FIGURE 8.10 Methane drainage by the superjacent method.

7.2.4 Vertical Gob Well Method
This technique, most commonly used in longwall mining in the United States, is relatively new
and it differs from European systems in several ways. US coal seams are generally thin, shallow,
and relatively more permeable. Typically, only one seam is mined in a given area and retreat
longwall mining is the only method being practiced at present. Methane emission rates from
gobs in various coal basins vary depending on the geological conditions, but deep-seated
longwall gobs (e.g., those in Pocahontas No. 3 seam in Virginia and in the Mary Lee seam in
Alabama) produce methane in the range of 180018,000 ft 3
/min. Multiple entries (typically four) are driven to develop longwall panels so that necessary air
quantities can be delivered to the longwall faces via the mine ventilation system. In many cases,
however, some sort of additional methane control becomes necessary.
The most popular method of methane control is to drill vertical boreholesabove the longwall
prior to mining as shown in Figure 8.11. Depending onthe length of the longwall panel (typically
10,000 ft) and the rate of mining, 330 vertical gob degas boreholes are needed. The first hole is
usually within 150500 ft of the start line of the longwall face. The borehole is drilled to within
3090 ft from the top of the coal. The casing is cemented through the fresh water zones near the
surface, and a slotted liner is provided over the lower open section to prevent closing of the hole
by caving. These boreholes are completed prior to mining. Usually no measurable methane
production is realized until the longwall face mines past the borehole.

FIGURE 8.11 Methane drainage by vertical gob wells.


8.1.1 Numerical analysis
RFPA2D-Flow (Realistic Failure Process Analysis based Digital Image Processing) is
developed by Center for Rock burst and Induced Seismicity Research, Northeastern University.
It is commonly used in coupling analysis of seepage and stresses in rock failure process. This
software induced the heterogeneity parameters of rock material into computing element. And

refer to accumulation of the element damage cause the macroscopic damage. And we also
define the element properties are linear elastic-brittle. The mechanic parameters of the rock
elements, such as elastic modulus and strength are all followed by the Weibull distribution. We
assumed that the failure occurs when the intensity of element reach the failure criterion. And the
elastic modulus of the failure elements is smaller than the original elements. In view of the
volume of rock damage is proportional to the number of failure element, we could use the
method of continuum mechanics to solve non-continuous problems [18-24
2.1. Borehole hydraulic fracturing
2.1.1.Numerical model
The vertical direction of the coal bed's displacement is limited in the overburden rock
during the entire process of the drilling and the pressure parting. And the value of this
displacement relative to the displacement of horizontal direction is negligibly small.
Therefore, we treat the simulation model as the plane strain model. The model geometry
of 20 m20 m is shown in Fig. 1. And the model had been meshed into 16000 units. The
shaft has a diameter of 200 mm in the center of the model. And set the horizontal ground
stress on the sides of the model as the displacement boundary condition. As is shown in fig: 1 ,

1 and 2 act as the ground stress on the horizontal

plane of the coal seam. And then we inject the water into the shaft, the water pressure will act
on the internal borderline of the hole. The water pressure p will have a step size of 0.1 MPa
increment. The initial value of the water pressure p0 is dependent on the initial boundary
conditions of the models.

The mechanics parameters in this model, such as the elastic modulus, the intensity of the
material, the coefficient of the permeability, Poisson ratio, etc. are followed Weibull distribution
to set the random value. The parameter m is a term used to describe the homogeneity of the
sample. Considering the special structure of the coal, m=3. Table 1 shows the mechanical
parameters of coal

Mechanical parameters


Mechanical parameters




The coefficient of residual


Young's modulus (GPa)


The coefficient of pore water


Frictional angle ()


The coefficient of


Compression strength (MPa)


Poisson ratio (m/d)


T-C ratio




2.1.2. Numerical procedure and selection of the parameters

1) According to the depth of burial at Sihe Coal Mine, the coal bed burial depths are 300
meters, 400 meters and500 meters. The associated minimum horizontal ground stresses are 6
MPa, 8 MPa and 10 MPa.
2) The relationship between 1 and 2 is shown as 1 = k 2 . During the process of numerical
analysis, the values of the coefficient k are 1.0, 1.05, 1.1, 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0. We use the
different value of the coefficient k to research the influence of different level of the horizontal
ground stress effect to the fracture propagation.
According to the maximum tensile stress theory, if the value of the bottom hole pressure equal
to the sum of the minimum horizontal ground stress and tensile strength of the coal seam, the
coal seam will be fractured. We call that bottom hole pressure is the initiation pressure. Use the
symbol Pcr to show the initiation pressure.
Pcr = Rt + min {3x-y , 3y- x }
According to the Eq.(1), when x = y , , the shear stress of the hole wall will be = 2 x P,
which has no concern with . In this case, the fracture starting point will be created in casual
position on the wall of hole, it is what we called the loss of the fracture orientation. The Eq. (1)
will become to
Pcr = 2x + Rt . If x < y , the fracture starting point should be located at the point of maximum
shear stress on the wall of hole, i.e., at the vertical position 90 and

270. So the

Eq. (1) become to Pcr = 3x y + Rt. If x > y , the fracture starting point should be located at
the horizontal mid point, at the horizontal position = 0 and = 180 . so the eq(1) become to Pcr =
3y x + Rt .

2.1.3. Stress difference on the impact of fracture propagation

Based on the above analysis, we use the software (RFPA2D-Flow) to do the simulation. Three
different coal bed burial depths, which the depths are 300 meters, 400 meters and 500 meters,
are set to simulate the different level of ground stress on the impact of fracture propagation.
And we get some meaning results. As shown in Fig. 2, if the minimum ground stress 2 = 6
MPa with the different value of coefficient k, the process of the coal seam fracture be created,
expanded and extended.
As shown in Fig. 2, we analyzed the six groups of computation modules to get the crack initial

angles and the initiation pressures with the different value of ground stress coefficient when the
depth of coal seam is 300 meters.







Crack initial angle ()

-85, 86, -108



Initiation pressure (MPa)







Through analysis of the minimum horizontal 2ground stress 2 = 8 MPa , 2 = 10 and synthesis
of the analysis of the minimum horizontal ground stress 2 = 6 M P a
we can obtain that: 1) If k =1.0 (the values of the two horizontal ground stresses are the
same), there are three fractures appear on the wall of hole at the same time. That indicate the
fracture do not have a certain direction during the process of crack initiation. And the fracture
bifurcates during the process of fracture extension. Once one of the horizontal ground stresses is
larger than the other one, the bifurcation phenomena will disappear. And the direction of crack
initiation and fracture extension will be perpendicular to the horizontal ground stress. 2) With

the same injection pressure, the fracture length Lu increases with increasing the horizontal
ground stress coefficient k. 3) the horizontal ground stresses deviation will be increased with
increasing the buried depth. And the coal seam appears to have shear destruction. As per the
above analysis, we propose that grid shape of surface well drilling should be set to rhombus. And
each of the diagonal should be parallel to

1 and 2 as shown in fig 3 .

In this picture, a expresses as , the semi-well spacing in the direction of maximum

horizontal ground stress, b express as the semi-well spacing in the direction of minimum
horizontal ground stress.

2.1.4. Injection pressure on the impact of fracture propagation

About the process of the single well hydraulic fracturing, in situ stress state has great effect to
the fracture propagation. In addition, the injection pressure also has important effect to the
fracture propagation. Therefore, the emphasis in this section is analyzing the effect of injection
pressure to the fracture propagation. As shown in Fig. 4, it shows fracture appeared and
propagation on the condition that the coal bed burial depth is
300 meters and the k=1.05.
As shown in Fig. 5, it is the relationship between the initiation pressure and the stress state.
As shown in Fig. 6, it is the relationship between the injection pressure and the fracture
length. The Fig. 5 indicates that the fracture pressure reduces gradually with increasing the
coefficient k. By comparison with the theoretical value, we get that the gap between the

fracture pressure and the coefficient k is beginning to close with increasing the coefficient k.
The aforementioned facts all demonstrate that the coal seams in which the horizontal
ground stress deviation is influenced by the structure stress are favorable for hydraulic
fracture. As shown in Fig. 9, the fracture length is increasing with increasing the injection
pressure. The regularity shows a linear relationship between the two parameters.

2.2. Multi-hole hydraulic fracture analysis

In most cases, the surface drilling drainage needs to set a lot of gas wells which the wells

should be sited with the reasonable distance and distribution. So the gas can be drained fully.
Therefore, based on the analysis of the single well, we study the law of fracture propagation
on the condition of multi-well. These conclusions can provide reference for actual
2.2.1. Numerical model
Follow the analysis of the chapter above, we recommend to using rhombic well disposing
when we design the plan of large area hydraulic fracture. As shown in Fig. 7, we build the
numerical model on this principle. We act on the stress constraints around the model. And the
value of the minimum ground stress is 8 MPa. The coefficient of ground stress is 1.4. The
water pressure acts on the inner boundary of the hole and it will increase with 0.1 MPa step
length. The coal and rock mass mechanic properties are the same as the single wells
properties (See Table 1).




Fig. 8 shows the characteristics about the fracture propagation. When the water injection
pressure gets close to 11
MPa, the fracture will expand rapidly. The well where in the middle of the model has the fastest
speed of the fracture propagation and the longest length of the fracture extension. The other
four wells have relatively short fracture. And the damage field of the fracture tip is relatively

small. The direction of the lower right wells fracture extension has yawing to the center well
with increasing the pressure. The directions of other three wells fracture extension are also
having a yawing to the center well. For the reason of hydraulic fracture, the more the length of
the fracture created in the coal seam, the more the range of the increasing of the coal seams
permeability will be enlarged. This is good for the coal bed methane desorption and
transportation, and will control the methane in the coal seam to the minimum level. Form the
result of the simulation work, we can get that the fracture of each well has a little interaction
and the direction of fracture extension just follow the established direction. And the damage
zone surround the fracture is very small too. So, in such a case, if we want to have the ideal
drainage effect, we should set the gas well sparsely along the direction of maximum principal
stress and set the gas well intensively along the direction of minimum principal stress: the well
spacing should be increase along the direction of maximum principal stress, the well spacing
should be induced along the direction of minimum principal stress. However, when the
length of the well spacing is too long to interlace the fractures with the adjacent gas wells in
the direction of maximum principal stress, the coal seam methane content cannot be reduced
effectively. It is recommended that during the optimum design for the well groups, the
appropriate length of well spacing in the direction of maximum principal stress is 250 m and
200 m in the direction of minimum principal stress.

8.1.2 METHOD
A modied coal-methane co-exploitation model was put forward (Fig. 3). In the modied model,
the integrated techniques of drillingeslottingeseparation-sealing is adopted to reduce the gas
content and eliminate the risk of gas burst in the initial/adjacent coal seam. As a result, highefciency production and mining safety are achieved in both the initial and adjacent coal seams.
The pressure relief of adjacent coal seam through the initial coal seam has been investigated in
detail and the related techniques are relatively mature (Yang et al., 2011a,b; 2014; Zhou et al.,
2015; Liu et al., 2013; Suchowerska et al., 2013; Guo et al., 2012). In this study, we introduce
novel integrated techniques involving drillingeslottingeseparation-sealing (Fig. 4). The
techniques, aiming at achieving high efciency and safe mining in the initial coal seam, are
composed of the following three key steps: drillingeslotting integrated technique, coalewateregas
separation technique and sealingeisolation combination technique. Correspondingly, the
instruments for dual-power drilling (used before slotting) and coalewateregas separation (used
during slotting) are developed. Besides, the novel sealing material (used after slotting) and
instruments are also developed for effective sealing. Those aforementioned techniques are
elaborated in following sections.
5.1.1 Steps involved in drilling slotting
The drillingeslotting integrated technique is an organic combination of mechanical drilling and
water-jet slotting. As shown in Fig. 5, the procedures of this technique can be summarised as

The coal is broken and an advanced weakening zone on the coal surface is formed via water-jet
impact. The strength of coal in this zone lowers signicantly (Sitharam, 1999; Yin et al., 2015).
Subsequently, the coal can be easily crushed by a mechanical blade. When the mechanical drill
reaches the pre-determined location, the drill pipe is pulled outwards and several slots around
borehole are cut by using high-pressure water jet.
5.1.2. Dual-power drilling
The dual-power drill (Fig. 6a, b) plays a crucial role in the process of drilling and slotting, which
works via the cooperation of the mechanical blade, nozzles, springs and solid plastic balls. When
the water with relatively low-pressure ows into the drill, spring 1 and spring 2 are compressed.
The water is ejected out through nozzle 1 and nozzle 2, which is conducive to the rapid drilling.
If the pressure of water is over a critical value, spring 1 is fully compressed and all the water is
ejected out through nozzle 2, which contributes to the effective slotting.
5.1.3 Water jet slotting
The water jet slotting technique is proposed to break the bottleneck effect. When the water jet is
ejected out from the generator, it cuts several slots on the borehole wall (Fig. 10b). The slots are
equal to extremely thin protective coal seams (Liu et al., 2014a; Yang et al., 2011b). The pressure
around the borehole is relieved and numerous new fractures initiate, propagate and coalesce,
forming a fracture network, which could provide a relatively wide pathway for the gas migration
(Fig. 10c). As a result, a great deal of gas ows into the borehole through fractures and slots.
Thus, the high-efciency gas drainage is achieved.

Fig. 5. Steps involved in the drillingeslotting integrated technique. (a) Drilling with
the combination of high-pressure water jet and mechanical drill. (b) Cutting slots on
the coal seam using the high-pressure water jet.

Fig. 10. Principle of water jet slotting technique for pressure relief.


Recovery of methane from the coal seam has been achieved using CO2 as an enhancer for
desorption. CO2 shows higher afnity towards coal on adsorption as compared to N2 and ue
gas. Adsorption and desorption of CO2 /CH4 in the coal bed depend on several factors such as
coal rank, temperature,
pressure, moisture content and maceral composition . The secondary process of methane
recovery using CO2 is called enhanced coal-bed methane (ECBM). Therefore, CO2 gas can be
potentially sequestered in the coal bed through ECBM
The ability of major greenhouse CO2 entrapment on the recovery of methane is calculated as
twice the volume of methane gas adsorption on the coal bed.
QCO2 = 2 * (Vgas) (weight of coal resource) *(density of CO2)



As is the case with any new reservoir development, there are some environmental issues and
challenges that CBM operators must face. The main environmental issues of CBM extraction
[30,31] are related to
1. disposal of co-produced water;
2. underground water table drawdown and
3. methane contamination.
Other concerns are related to noise (caused by compressors and pumps), air pollution (with some
gases related to drilling and extraction operations) and surface disturbances. During the
production of gas from CBM, large volumes of water are produced from the reservoir. The ratio
of water to gas is generally high
in any reservoir, but it can vary depending on both geological (permeability, coal rank, etc.) and
other factors (e.g. duration of production). This water can be reinjected into geologic formations,
used for irrigation, or stored in evaporation ponds. However, this process can cause damage to
the environment if disposed of improperly. Therefore, water quality data are essential for
planning water disposal and water treatment options. CBM producers normally apply for a
permit to dispose of the water, if water quality meets the required standards. If the water does not
meet the requirements (e.g. if the salinity is too high), it must be treated before it can be
disposed. CBM production can cause water withdrawal from the aquifer.
Water removal from the aquifer prior to gas extraction & cause changes in the local water
table, which may affect landowners and farmers who use this water for irrigation, livestock and
household purposes.
Such groundwater withdrawal can also promote spontaneous combustion of coal seams in the
area. The mobility of methane gas and its migration from the reservoir to the surface is also a
significant environmental concern. The seepage of methane can occur in the uncemented annular
spaces, natural fractures and through water wells and abandoned oil and gas wells. This seepage
can lead to contamination of groundwater, affect vegetation and may also result in a fire or
explosion. Another potential environmental issue related to CBM production is the application of
fracture stimulation techniques, so-called fracking. Fracking involves pumping large volumes
of fluids, usually with sand

and some chemicals, into the targeted coal seam [32]. The purpose of fracking is to create or
reactivate fractures that allow gas to flow more easily towards the production well. Fractures
formed this way can
extend beyond the coal seam and may serve as conduits between the coal seam and groundwater.
In these cases, groundwater contamination with methane or with disposed CBM water may
result. To prevent such
contamination, detailed knowledge of coal seam properties (porosity, fluid conductivity, seam
thickness, etc.) is required before the decision about the location for a CBM production well is
made. Efforts to prevent water contamination are important parts of CBM operations because the
remediation of contaminated groundwater is a complex and costly process.