Characteristics of Coalbed
Methane Produced Water in
Alabama
Nick Tew
Alabama State Geologist/Oil and Gas Board Supervisor...
Alabama’s Fossil Fuel Energy Endowment
 Coal
 Black Warrior Basin Coal Measures
 Coastal Plain Lignite (low-rank coal)
...
Significant Activity Areas
Coalbed Methane in Alabama
• Degasification experiments for mine safety began in the
mid-1970s.
• Commercial production be...
Alabama CBM Fields
Cumulative Gas Production
from 1980-2009
Cumulative Water Production from
1980-2009
Cumulative Gas and Water
Production
Development and Production
• Drilling and hydraulic fracturing currently uses “city” water
• Usually trucked to location
•...
Co-Produced Water
• CBM production is pressure driven and usually requires
dewatering of coals to lower hydrostatic pressu...
Peak Gas and Water
Production
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
12000
14000
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
11/1987
05/1988
11/1988
05/1989
11/1989
05/1990
11/...
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
0
2000
4000
6000
8000
10000
12000
14000
10/1991
10/1992
10/1993
10/1994
10/1995
10/199...
Co-Produced Water
• As new areas of production come on line, water production
is relatively high.
• As an area reaches mat...
Water production
through time
Water production
through time
Water Treatment and Disposal
• In-stream disposal is the dominant practice in the Black
Warrior Basin.
• Prior to disposal...
Produced Water
Discharge Points
Water Chemistry
 Major constituents:
 Mostly sodium-chloride, some areas are dominated by sodium bicarbonate
waters.
 G...
CBM Produced Water in Alabama
 Potential Beneficial Uses:
 Aquaculture and irrigation water, in particular shrimp farmin...
Acknowledgments
 GSA CBM Produced Water Project funded by the U.S.
Dept. of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, NETL, DOE
Aw...
Produced Water | Session IV - Nick Tew
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Produced Water | Session IV - Nick Tew

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Characteristics of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in Alabama

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  • Lower-right map’s location is roughly indicated by the blue dashed box in the upper map.
  • Total cumulative gas (Mmcf) and water (bbl) production. Gives sense of scale of the resource and the water disposal issue.
  • Peak gas (mcf/month)and water (bbl/month) production. Peak production is typically within the first few years of a well’s life. Robinson’s Bend and parts of Cedar Cove have high water production and variable gas production. Blue Creek, Deerlick Creek, and White Oak Creek fields have lower water production and generally good gas production.
  • Typical decline curve
  • Typical decline curve
  • Yearly water production – Illustrates the general pattern of lower water production in a well/area over time. Note, Brookwood field is mostly wells in and immediately around the mines where extensive de-watering had already occurred.
  • Processed produced water discharge points. Almost all discharge into the Black Warrior River or one of its tributaries.
  • TDS map, metals trend with TDS.
  • Produced Water | Session IV - Nick Tew

    1. 1. Characteristics of Coalbed Methane Produced Water in Alabama Nick Tew Alabama State Geologist/Oil and Gas Board Supervisor Geological Survey of Alabama State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama Atlantic Council Fossil Fuel Produced Water Workshop Washington, DC June 24-25, 2013
    2. 2. Alabama’s Fossil Fuel Energy Endowment  Coal  Black Warrior Basin Coal Measures  Coastal Plain Lignite (low-rank coal)  Oil  Conventional  SW Alabama Oil and Condensate  Black Warrior Basin Oil  Unconventional  Oil Sands of North Alabama  Oil Shale of North Alabama  Natural Gas  Conventional  SW Alabama  Black Warrior Basin  Unconventional  Coalbed Methane of Black Warrior Basin  Paleozoic Gas Shales of North Alabama Geology of Alabama
    3. 3. Significant Activity Areas
    4. 4. Coalbed Methane in Alabama • Degasification experiments for mine safety began in the mid-1970s. • Commercial production began in 1980. • Currently close to 5,000 active wells in 20 fields. • Annual gas production between 105 and 121 Bcf for the last 20 years. • More than 2.1 Tcf cumulative gas production. • More than 1.7 billion barrels of water produced.
    5. 5. Alabama CBM Fields
    6. 6. Cumulative Gas Production from 1980-2009 Cumulative Water Production from 1980-2009 Cumulative Gas and Water Production
    7. 7. Development and Production • Drilling and hydraulic fracturing currently uses “city” water • Usually trucked to location • Additional water during production is not needed
    8. 8. Co-Produced Water • CBM production is pressure driven and usually requires dewatering of coals to lower hydrostatic pressure for gas production. • Water production is generally high early in a well’s life and decreases rapidly. • Gas production generally peaks in the first few years, after peak water, then decreases. • High water production can limit how often and how much a well can be pumped, limiting gas production.
    9. 9. Peak Gas and Water Production
    10. 10. 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 11/1987 05/1988 11/1988 05/1989 11/1989 05/1990 11/1990 05/1991 11/1991 05/1992 11/1992 05/1993 11/1993 05/1994 11/1994 05/1995 11/1995 05/1996 11/1996 05/1997 11/1997 05/1998 11/1998 05/1999 11/1999 05/2000 11/2000 05/2001 11/2001 05/2002 11/2002 05/2003 11/2003 05/2004 11/2004 05/2005 11/2005 05/2006 11/2006 05/2007 11/2007 05/2008 11/2008 waterProduction(bbl) Gasproduction(Mcf) Reese-Taurus-91-21-08-07-04 #1684 (OGB PN 10009) Monthly Production Gas Water
    11. 11. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 10/1991 10/1992 10/1993 10/1994 10/1995 10/1996 10/1997 10/1998 10/1999 10/2000 10/2001 10/2002 10/2003 10/2004 10/2005 10/2006 10/2007 10/2008 WaterProduction(bbl) GasProduction(mcf) USX 34-16-48 (OGB PN 10892-C) Monthly Production Gas Water
    12. 12. Co-Produced Water • As new areas of production come on line, water production is relatively high. • As an area reaches maturity, the water production will slow and level off. • Some areas, with high recharge rates, will continue to produce significant water volumes over the life of the well. • In and around mining, where water levels have been drawn down prior to drilling, wells produce little to no water.
    13. 13. Water production through time
    14. 14. Water production through time
    15. 15. Water Treatment and Disposal • In-stream disposal is the dominant practice in the Black Warrior Basin. • Prior to disposal, water is treated to remove silt, clay, iron, and manganese compounds. • Underground injection can augment in-stream disposal in areas of highly saline water; however, currently all produced water is disposed of in-stream. • Potential beneficial uses exist for produced water with less than 3,000 mg/L TDS. • In the southwestern CBM fields, water is more saline and limits the ability to pump wells.
    16. 16. Produced Water Discharge Points
    17. 17. Water Chemistry  Major constituents:  Mostly sodium-chloride, some areas are dominated by sodium bicarbonate waters.  Generally low in sulfate, magnesium, and calcium.  Almost all wells exceed secondary drinking water standards for TDS (500 mg/L), but the average well is in a USDW (<10,000 mg/L).  Average levels of barium, cadmium, fluoride, lead, and thallium exceeds the drinking water MCL; average levels of zinc and manganese exceed the secondary drinking water regulations.
    18. 18. CBM Produced Water in Alabama  Potential Beneficial Uses:  Aquaculture and irrigation water, in particular shrimp farming  Water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing  Municipal supply  Alternative water treatment:  Reverse osmosis systems  Artificial wetlands (Clemson-Chevron research)  Alternative to in-stream disposal:  SWD wells, however, no consistent high capacity zones identified
    19. 19. Acknowledgments  GSA CBM Produced Water Project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, NETL, DOE Award Number DE-FE0000888.  GSA Research Team: Marcella McIntyre- Redden, Steve Mann, Jack Pashin (now at OK State), David Kopaska-Merkel, Ashley Williams, and Mac McKinney.
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