How Permeability Depends on Stress and Pore Pressure in Coalbeds: A New Model

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In naturally fractured formations such as coal, permeability is sensitive to changes in stress or pore pressure (i.e., changes in effective stress). This paper presents a new theoretical model for calculating pore volume (PV) compressibility and permeability in coals as a function of effective stress and matrix shrinkage, by means of a single equation. The equation is appropriate for uniaxial strain conditions, as expected in a reservoir. The model predicts how permeability changes as pressure is decreased (i.e., draw-down). PV compressibility is derived in this theory from fundamental reservoir parameters. It is not constant, as often assumed. PV compressibility is high in coals because porosity is so small. A rebound in permeability can occur at lower drawdown pressures for the highest modulus and matrix shrinkage values. We have also history matched rates from a boomer well in the fairway of the San Juan basin by use of various stress-dependent permeability functions. The best fit stress/permeability function is then compared with the new theory.




Palmer, I., & Mansoori, J. (1998). How Permeability Depends on Stress and Pore Pressure in Coalbeds: A New Model. SPE Reservoir Engineering (Society of Petroleum Engineers), 1(6), 539–543.

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