--> --> Abstract: The Horseshoe Canyon Coals of Central Alberta — A Dry CBM Play, by C. R. Waffle, D. L. Tisdale, and C. A. MacNeill; #90095 (2009)

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The Horseshoe Canyon Coals of Central Alberta — A Dry CBM Play

Chris R. Waffle, Darren L. Tisdale, and Cory A. MacNeill
Trident Exploration Corporation, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0X8, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Alberta’s first commercial production of CBM was established in 2002 from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. The coal stratigraphy is comprised of multiple thin 1 to 10 foot seams with net coal thicknesses of 25 to 80 feet occurring at a depth of 1,000 to 3,000 feet. The play trend covers an area of at least 90 x 300 miles with an estimated initial gas in-place of 147.0 TCF. Currently an estimated 7,000+ wells produce from the Horseshoe Canyon with initial production rates across the trend averaging 100 mcf/d. This “dry CBM” play requires little to no pumping of water before production.

From the inception of commercial drilling this play has faced significant challenges, both operational and regulatory. Early drilling and completion techniques were sub-optimal causing severe damage to the dry coals and associated sediments. There has been continuous improvement in technology leading to increased production rates and reduced capital costs.

Many conventional gas pools in the trend are marginally economic when produced separately. Recent regulatory changes have increased well density and allowed commingling of CBM with conventional gas pools, which will ultimately enhance gas recovery and reduce the need to duplicate well locations. Shallow rights reversion implemented in 2009 by the regulatory board will push the boundaries of the trend as established deeper plays will no longer retain mineral rights on a section.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90095©2009 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting, Evansville, Indiana, September 20-22, 2009