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Coal-Bed Methane Potential of Central Appalachian Basin

J. R. Kelafant, V. A. Kuuskraa, D. E. Wicks

Coal-bed methane in the Central Appalachian basin represents a significant potential source of natural gas. The numerous relatively thick coal beds of attractive rank and depth offer the promise of large, low-cost reserves of natural gas. The proximity of the supply source to northeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and the established pipeline infrastructure in the basin will afford a premium for Appalachian basin gas, which will enhance the area's economic outlook.

ICF-Lewin Energy, under the sponsorship of the Gas Research Institute, is completing a resource economics study of coal-bed methane in the Central Appalachian basin. As part of this study, five major Pennsylvanian age coal beds that hold the most potential for containing large volumes of gas are being studied in detail. These coal beds are the Pocahontas No. 3, Pocahontas No. 4, Beckley, Sewell, and Jawbone.

The preliminary estimate of gas in place for the Central Appalachian basin is between 20 and 40 tcf, with a considerable portion of this resource potentially economic at today's gas prices. A more refined estimate will emerge upon completion of the study. Multiple completions will probably be the most economic means of completing the coal-bed wells, as several of the target coal beds can be found in a vertical sequence.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91031©1988 AAPG Eastern Section, Charleston, West Virginia, 13-16 September 1988.