Optimization of enhanced coal-bed methane recovery using numerical simulation

Mandadige Samintha Anne Perera, Ranjith Pathegama Gamage, Ashani Savinda Ranathunga, Andrew Yi Jie Koay, Jian Zhao, Sing-Ki Xavier Choi

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Although the enhanced coal-bed methane (ECBM) recovery process is one of the potential coal bed methane production enhancement techniques, the effectiveness of the process is greatly dependent on the seam and the injecting gas properties. This study has therefore aimed to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of all possible major ECBM process-enhancing techniques by developing a novel 3D numerical model by considering a typical coal seam using the COMET 3 reservoir simulator. Interestingly, according to the results of the model, the generally accepted concept that there is greater CBM (coal-bed methane) production enhancement from CO2 injection, compared to the traditional water removal technique, is true only for high CO2 injection pressures. Generally, the ECBM process can be accelerated by using increased CO2 injection pressures and reduced temperatures, which are mainly related to the coal seam pore space expansion and reduced CO2 adsorption capacity, respectively. The model shows the negative influences of increased coal seam depth and moisture content on ECBM process optimization due to the reduced pore space under these conditions. However, the injection pressure plays a dominant role in the process optimization.
Although the addition of a small amount of N2 into the injecting CO2 can greatly enhance the methane production process, the safe N2 percentage in the injection gas should be carefully predetermined as it causes early breakthroughs in CO2 and N2 in the methane production well. An increased number of production wells may not have a significant influence on long-term CH4 production (50 years for the selected coal seam), although it significantly enhances short-term CH4 production (10 years for the selected coal seam). Interestingly, increasing the number of injection and production wells may have a negative influence on CBM production due to the coincidence of pressure contours created by each well and the mixing of injected CO2 with CH4.
Original languageEnglish
Article number90
Pages (from-to)90 - 107
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysics and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2015


  • Coal-bed methane
  • Numerical simulation
  • Optimization measures
  • Recovery techniques

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