--> ABSTRACT: Coalbed Methane in Western Canada: Play Concepts and Characteristics, by Garth R. Sloan, W. J. McDougall, J. D. Hughes, Paul G. Gagnon, David G. Hill, and Ken J. Sinclair; #90906(2001)

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Garth R. Sloan1, W. J. McDougall2, J.D. Hughes3, Paul G. Gagnon4, David G. Hill5, Ken J. Sinclair6

(1) Rimbey Energy Inc, Calgary, AB
(2) Obann Resources Ltd, Calgary, AB
(3) Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary, AB
(4) GTI (formerly GRI), Denver, CO
(5) GTI (formerly GRI), Chicago, IL
(6) Canadian Coalbed Methane Forum, Calgary, AB

ABSTRACT: Coalbed Methane in Western Canada: Play Concepts and Characteristics

Coalbed methane exploration in Canada has gone through several phases over the past 25 years with limited economic success. The earliest exploration for CBM within western Canada included a large drilling program in the late 1970's in the Alberta foothills. Only one well was tested for CBM potential in the mid 1980's, with no economic success. From 1989 through 1992, nearly 100 more tests were conducted. These tests were predominately "piggy-backs" on conventional tests and did not effectively test all potential zones or areas. This phase of work was conducted when interest in CBM spilled over from the U.S., where Section 29 Tax Credit and early successes in the San Juan Basin were spurring growth. Low gas prices and the lack of obvious economic CBM potential slowed CBM exploration in Canada for the remainder of the 1990's. Since mid 1999 there has been a marked increase in interest in CBM exploration due to three primary factors; 1)economic success of several emerging CBM basins in the U.S. including the Raton Basin and the Powder River Basin, 2) continued technology advances, and 3) favorable natural gas prices and expanding demand.

Within western Canada there are four basic CBM play types as suggested by Dawson et al (2000): shallow foreland basin, deep foreland basin, foothills-mountain region, and restricted basin. This paper will review multiple examples of each play type and provide insights with regard to success based on geologic attributes and CBM development issues.

Although all four play types require additional exploration and testing to fully determine CBM potential in western Canada, the shallow foreland basin and foothills-mountain region play types have the highest potential for economic success. This is based primarily on favorable coal reservoir properties and existing infrastructure.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado