Researchers at The University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources have won an Australian Research Council Linkage Project which promises economic benefits to Australia’s gas industry and improved understanding of natural gas production.
The project, supported by major Australian energy company Santos, aims to develop new technology to significantly increase the efficiency of gas production from coal beds.
Coal seam gas (CSG) is the world’s fastest-growing unconventional gas resource and offers potential for much cleaner power than traditional coal.
Production of CSG has become an important industry providing an abundant, clean-burning fuel in an age when pollution, climate change, fuel shortages and fuel prices are major public concerns.
However CSG production offers borderline economic efficiency because of low-production rates from the low permeability of typical coal seams. Companies are faced with strategies such as drilling costly horizontal or multilateral wells or locating a sweet spot from the use of detailed structural geological methods or through expensive drilling of exploration wells.
This project looks at developing cost-effective engineering solutions to increase cleat system permeability and well productivity. The novel technology uses a combination of new theoretical models for suspension transport in cleats, innovative mathematical modelling, laboratory studies and validation against field tests to develop strategies.
A multi-disciplinary team has been formed for the project uniting world-class specialists to develop a new integrated technology for well productivity enhancement in CSG, shale, tight gas and geothermal reservoirs.
The University of Adelaide team consists of Prof Pavel Bedrikovetski, Prof Anthony Roberts, A/Prof Andrei Kotooussov, Prof Mark Biggs, Dr Mark Tingay, and Dr John Codrington, along with collaborators at the University of South Australia, University of New South Wales and Santos.