Characterizing Moisture and Gas Content of Coal by Low-Field NMR
Guo, R., Mannhardt, K. and Kantzas, A.
CIM 2006-022 presented at the 57th Annual Technical Meeting of the Petroleum Society held in Calgary, June 13-15, 2006;
J. Can. Pet. Tech., 46(10), October 2007, Pages 49-54. JCPT Best Paper Award.
Coalbed Methane (CBM) shows great potential to be an important energy source. One key factor for the successful development of CBM processes is to characterize coal on its moisture and gas content. Usually, the moisture and gas content of coal are determined from laboratory analysis. Low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a relatively new technique used in logging and in the analysis of fluids contained in reservoir rocks. This paper investigates the potential for coal characterization by low-field NMR.
Low-field NMR detects hydrogen-bearing molecules and, in reservoir rock samples, distinguishes between ‘free ’ bulk fluid and ‘bound ’ surface fluid. Coal contains free water in the cleats as well as moisture that forms an integral part of the coal structure. Methane gas is a light hydrocarbon gas and coal contains free methane gas in fractures and adsorbed methane in internal surfaces. NMR characterization of moisture and adsorbed gas in coal and implications for moisture, adsorption isotherm and gas content measurements are explored.
Experiments of moisture-free coal, moist coal and coal/water mixtures indicated drastically different spectra. From these spectra, free and bound water could be estimated using a methodology that is currently applied in clay-rich formations. In this paper, two sets of data are presented. First, measurements at ambient conditions provided a reference to other conventional moisture and cutoff data. Second, a high-pressure cell for the measurement of adsorbed coal was used and comparisons were made. Coal samples in the form of powder and chunk were used. The paper focuses on the methods and results to date.
Coalbed methane (CBM) has evolved into a commercially profitable source of natural gas. Canada has vast resources of coal and it has been estimated that the total in-place reserves are 36 ? 10 12 m 3. Over 60% of Canada ’s CBM assets are in Alberta (1). Coalbed methane has the potential of contributing a significant portion of Canadian natural gas production in the near future. One key factor for the successful development of CBM processes is to characterize coal on its moisture and gas content. Usually, the moisture of coal is determined from coal proximate analysis and the gas content of coal is determined by the desorption measurement in the laboratory.
Low-field NMR is a relatively new technique used in logging and in the analysis of fluids contained in reservoir rocks. Nuclear magnetic resonance occurs when the nuclei of certain atoms (i.e. hydrogen proton) are immersed in a static magnetic field and exposed to a second oscillating magnetic field (2). NMR provides a non-destructive analytical method of detecting hydrocarbons in reservoirs (3) and characterizing the hydrocarbon gas (4). Generally, the NMR spectrum can provide three types of information: the quantities of the fluids in the rock, the mobility (viscosity) of these fluids and information about the pores that contain these fluids.
As a source rock and at the same time a reservoir rock, coal contains large amounts of water and methane. Water exists as free water in the cleats as well as the moisture that forms an integral part of the coal structure.