Coal Bed Methane Potential in the Western Kentucky Coal Field

Grants and Contracts Details


?Description: The Western Kentucky Coal Field (WKCF) is the southern tip of the Eastern Interior (Illinois) Basin. It extends across all, or parts of, 19 counties, covering 16,572 lan2• Geologic analysis of the WKCF over the past 15 years indicates that economic coalbed methane (CBM) will most likely be foand in the Carbondale and Shelburn Formations coals, as these beds are the thickest, and most laterally continuous coal beds in the WKCF. These include the Davis through Baker coals. Some other coals, which are known to be locally thick (e.g., Mannington) may contain economically recoverable gas as well. An analysis of 20 borehole records from Webster and Union Counties indicates an average of 17 feet, and in some cases more than 25 feet, of coal thickness in the Davis through Baker interval. An overburden map on the Springfield coal indicates that a considerable amount of the Springfield exists at depths of 500 feet, or more, across a large part of the coal field. An even larger area has at least 200 feet, or more, of cover. This indicates that the coal beds considered to be principle CBM targets have sufficient cover for methane production across most of the WKCF. This project will proceed in two phases: I. Phase 1: Our initial work will be focused in an area in Ohio County where Peabody Energy is proposing to drill a multi-level, multi-lateral exploration core hole. Coal samples will be collected and tested to measure and characterize the CBM through an associated coring program. Samples will first be desorbed to measure gas content, and the gas will subsequently be analyzed for composition (types and amounts of gases present) and origin (biogenic or thermogenic). Phase 2: In the second phase, our efforts will expand to other parts of the coal field to identify specific areas with the best potential for economic CBM. Geologic data from oil and gas drill record and bore hole information will be accumulated and analyzed to determine which areas of the WKCF have the greatest cumulative thickness of coal at sufficient depth for potential CBM production. These data will assist future drilling by locating the best areas for potential multiple seam completion. Mine maps will also be analyzed to determine if any structural trends, such as regional flexure patterns or faulting, can be identified, as these areas can greatly enhance the natural permeability of the coal.
Effective start/end date7/1/036/15/04


  • Murray State University: $50,000.00


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