Investigation of the velocities of coals of diverse rank under water- or gas-saturated conditions for application in coalbed methane recovery

Jizhao Xu, Cheng Zhai, Pathegama Gamage Ranjith, Yong Sun, Jisheng Guo, Zheng Ma, Huiteng Ma, Lei Qin

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Coalbed methane recovery enhanced by hydraulic or nonaqueous fracturing methods has been studied for decades, and it is of significance to evaluate fracturing results and scope for field applications. Monitoring variation in velocity is one way to explain fracturing effects. However, the existence of residual water or gas within cracks or pores may affect velocity measurements, and the correlation between velocity and inherent coal attributes (such as density and porosity) has not been studied comprehensively. In this paper, coal of different ranks (lignite, bituminite, and anthracite) was prepared under water and gas saturation to approximately simulate the residual water and gas in cracks under field applications. Correlations between the velocity and coal attributes were studied. For both water- and gas-saturated cores, the diverse velocity distributions were highly correlated to rank and saturation media. The longitudinal ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPVp) and transverse ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPVs) of different cores were distributed differently. For coal saturated with water or gas, the UPVp values of lignite, bituminite, and anthracite had positive linear correlations with the corresponding UPVs values. The discrete velocity ratio data were fit as negative linear correlations with UPVs, and different coals had different declining degrees, the difference of which might be attributed to the characteristics of structural cracks and the inherent properties of the coal, such as grain size and pore shape, which result in decreasing coal integrity and strength. Moreover, the difference in acoustic resistance between coal and fluids might have an inverse impact on the acoustic energy, and a larger difference might cause a large amount of energy to dissipate and finally cause the velocity to decrease. Under water and gas saturation conditions, the UPVp showed a positive linear correlation with density and a negative linear correlation with porosity. Finally, a potential field application was designed on the relations between the velocity and the elastic parameters to estimate fracturing effects by monitoring the petrophysical parameters of coal lithologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3729381
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019

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