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Original Title: Experimental Study on Porosity and Permeability of Anthracite Coal Under Different Stresses 2015 Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering

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under different stresses

Ya Meng a,b,n, Zhiping Li a,b, Fengpeng Lai a,b

a

Beijing Key Laboratory of Geology Evaluation and Development of Unconventional Natural Gas, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083,

PR China

b

School of Energy Resources, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, PR China

art ic l e i nf o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:

Received 31 December 2014

Accepted 2 April 2015

Available online 20 April 2015

Coal porosity and permeability are key factors inuencing coal-bed methane well production. In order to

investigate the permeability behavior during anthracite coal seam methane production, the porosity and

permeability of anthracite coal sample from No. 3 coal seam in Southern Qinshui Basin of China in net

conning stress were measured in laboratory. The correlations between porosity, permeability and

effective stress were analyzed. Permeability damage rate, stress sensitivity coefcient and pore

compressibility factor were proposed to evaluate the effective stress-dependent sensitivity characteristics of anthracite coal. It turns out that, both porosity and permeability of coal sample decrease

exponentially with the increase of effective stress. If the effective stress is less than 5 MPa or 6 MPa,

stress sensitivity coefcient of coal reservoir changed greatly, and the stress sensitivity coefcient

decreases rapidly with effective stress increased. The permeability damage rate increases rapidly with

increasing effective stress, the stress sensitivity of coal reservoir enhanced; while in the effective stress is

greater than 5 MPa or 6 MPa, the stress sensitivity coefcient of the coal reservoir decreases as effective

stress increases slowly, and there is uctuation, the stress sensitivity of coal reservoir is reduced; while

permeability damage rate with the increase of effective stress increased more slowly. With the increase

of moisture content and temperature, the permeability damage rate of coal reservoir and stress sensitive

coefcient increase, and the stress sensitivity of coal reservoir enhanced.

& 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Key words:

effective stress

anthracite coal

porosity

permeability

stress sensitivity

1. Introduction

Both porosity and permeability are key factors affecting the coalbed methane production. Porosity of coal usually refers to the sum of

matrix porosity and ssure porosity. The dual pore system of coal

regulates gas storage capacity, occurrence and transport of methane

through coal. Numerous researches on the relationship between

porosity and permeability of conventional oil and gas reservoirs have

been reported (Louis, 1969; Zimmerman and Bodvarsson, 1996;

Zimmerman, 2000). Pore compressibility factor and reservoir stress

sensitivity factor were dened to assess the stress-dependent permeability of conventional reservoirs (Lubinski, 1954; Biot, 1956; Louis,

1969; Wu et al., 1995; Jia et al., 1995; Jose, 1997; Min et al., 2004; Wang

et al., 2009). Jose (1997) pointed out that permeability loss of the tight

sandstone gas reservoir under conning pressure can reach as high as

90% of the initial permeability. As a typical unconventional gas

reservoir, coal is a type of low porosity and low permeability porous

n

Corresponding author at: School of Energy Resources, China University of

Geosciences (Beijing), No. 29 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083,

PR China. Tel.: 86 10 13521520515.

E-mail address: mengya629@163.com (Y. Meng).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2015.04.012

0920-4105/& 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

media and is highly sensitive to effective stress. And coal has a high

afnity to gases, i.e. nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide. Therefore

permeability behavior of coal is more complex than that of conventional oil and gas reservoir. During gas production, coal permeability

decreases with the increase of effective stress at early water pumping

stage and then increases with the increasing shrinkage effect in later

gas extraction stage. A few permeability models were proposed and

widely used to describe the stress-dependent effect and matrix

shrinkage/expansion effect whereas these models did not take into

account the varying cleat compressibility (Shi and Durucan, 2004,

2010; Pan and Connell (2012); Palmer, 2009; Connell, 2009). Experimental studies showed that overall bituminous coal permeability

declines exponentially with the increase of effective stress (Enever

and Henning, 1997; McKee et al., 1988). Enever and Henning (1997)

found the exponential relationship between the permeability of coal

seam and the stress. Based on the study of coal seam permeability and

its relation to the buried depth in Piceance, San Juan and Black Warrior

basins in the United States, McKee et al. (1988) found that the

permeability reduces in the law of negative exponential function as

the buried depth of coal seam and the effective stress increase and the

aperture of coal seam cleat decreases. In order to investigate the

permeability behavior of high rank coal during early depletion of CBM

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

anthracite coal was addressed based on laboratory experiments

(Meng and Li, 2013; Meng and Hou, 2013). Meng and Li (2013)

collected 12 high rank coal samples from the southeast margin of

China Ordos Basin and two low and medium rank coal samples from

the north margin of this basin and determined their air permeability

under a varying effective stress from 2.5 MPa to 20 MPa in laboratory,

the correlation models between permeability and stress of high rank

coal reservoir were established, and the controlling mechanism of

permeability variation was studied. Specically, variation in in-situ

water permeability is likely a function of the maceral composition,

mode of deformation, and degree of shearing of the coal seams

(Gentzis et al., 2007). However, CBM reservoir has low permeability

and strong gas adsorption capacity, which is quite different from the

conventional oil and gas reservoirs. CBM reservoir permeability is

controlled by coal reservoir stress regime, however researches on the

inuence of in-situ stress to the coal reservoir permeability were

insufcient due to the lack of coal reservoir stress and permeability

data. Thus the understanding of the permeability variation during the

exploration and development of CBM was still limited to some degree.

Previous experimental researches were mainly related to low-medium

rank coals, few researches on high rank coals has been reported. This

study was undertaken to address the stress-dependent porosity and

permeability of anthracite coal at a varying temperature and moisture

content. The porosity and permeability of anthracite coal sample from

No. 3 coal seam in Southern Qinshui Basin of China in net conning

stress were measured in laboratory. The correlations between porosity,

permeability and effective stress were analyzed. The results may be

applicable in developing strategies in exploration, well completion and

production of coal-bed methane.

2. Experimental method

2.1. Experiment samples

The Southern Qinshui Basin, located in Shanxi Province of the

Central China, is the most important production base for high

quality anthracite in China. The Southern Qinshui Basin measures

approximately 120 km from north to south and 80 km from east to

west, with an area of about 7000 km2. Coal seams, generated in

Carboniferous and Permian periods, contain abundant methane.

Permeability in the coal-bed reservoir is relatively high compared

to other coal-bed methane reservoirs in China. The exploration

and production tests in this eld have been conducted since 1990s.

The results show that the Qinshui Basin is a very promising coalbed methane reservoir with the most exploration wells, the best

development prospect, and a higher commercialized production in

the China's coal-bed methane reservoirs (Meng et al., 2011).

The coal samples were collected from the No. 3 coal seam in

Permian at Sihe coalmine in Southern Qinshui Basin. The burial depth

of the coal seam is from 350 m to 1200 m. According to approximate

analysis results on air dry basis, the moisture content is 1.36%, volatile

yield 8.12% and ash yield 22.63%. The maximum vitrinite reectance

Ro,Max is 3.12% and No. 3 coal seam is semi-bright coal in macrolithotype and is banded or homogeneous in coal texture. Cylindrical

coal samples were carefully drilled in the direction parallel to the

bedding plane. The diameter of coal samples is from 2.51 cm to

2.52 cm and the length from 4.75 cm to 5.11 cm. Dry coal samples

were prepared by drying the raw coal samples in the dryer for 48 h.

The basic data of the coal samples are shown in Table 1.

2.2. Experiment apparatus and procedure

We used an automatic porosity and permeability instrument

(AP 608) to test the porosity and permeability of coal under net

811

Table 1

Basic data of the coal samples.

ID

content

(cm)

(cm)

Experimental

temperature

( 1C)

Description

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

7#

8#

9#

10#

11#

2.51

2.52

2.52

2.51

2.51

2.52

2.50

2.47

2.50

2.50

2.50

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

30

60

Fractured

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

Intact

4.75

5.09

5.11

4.99

5.08

4.96

2.72

3.44

2.60

5.00

5.00

Dry

Dry

Dry

Dry

Dry

Dry

30.42%

66.8%

100%

Dry

Dry

high-pressure air, the high-purity helium acts as the test gas

source. The experimental workow is shown in Fig. 1.

2.3. Experiment conditions

To understand the inuence of the coal reservoir stress on coal

porosity and permeability, we used the variation of net conning

pressure to simulate the variations of coal seam effective stress,

and measured the varying porosity and permeability with net

conning pressure, and then analyzed the relationships between

porosity, permeability and effective stress.

In this paper, the burial depth of coal seams in southern

Qinshui Basin ranges from 350 m to 1200 m, so the maximum

stress test was designed to 10 MPa, and the temperature test up to

60 1C. To avoid the inuence of slippage effect on permeability of

coal sample, in the course of the experiment, the displacement

pressure is xed. Conning pressure values were 3.5, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0,

7.0, 8.0, 9.0, and 10.0 MPa, and the temperature 20 1C. In order to

analyze the inuence of temperature on stress sensitivity, experimental temperature is set as 30 1C and 60 1C. To minimize gas

slippage effect, the same displacement pressure keeps constant

during the test process. Each stress point sustained long enough, at

least in balance for 30 min, and then gas permeability at this stress

point is measured.

3. Experiment results

3.1. Relationships between coal porosity, permeability and effective

stress

3.1.1. The relationship between permeability of coal and the effective

stress

The relationship between permeability of coal and the effective

stress is shown in Fig. 2. From Fig. 2, we can see that the relationship

between the gas permeability of coal and effective stress obeys the

negative exponential function as follows:

K i K 0 e ap

10 3 m2; p is the variation value of effective stress from the initial

to a certain stress, MPa; K 0 is the permeability under initial effective

stress, 10 3 m2; and a is the regression coefcient, MPa 1.

Regression analysis results for six experimental samples are

shown in Table 2. K 0 ranges from 0.0267 10 3 m2 to

4.2562 10 3 m2, averagely 0.7819 10 3 m2; a ranges from

0.26 MPa 1 to 0.54 MPa 1, averagely 0.37 MPa 1.

812

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

1.2

Porosity

y = 3.4933e

3.5

3.0

-0.0491x

R = 0.9711

0.8

2.5

0.003

y = 0.0267e

10

12

0.002

0.000

1.5

14

2.0

-0.0957x

y = 2.8397e

1.5

0.040

2.5

-0.3628x

2.0

Permeability/10-3 m2

3.0

Porosity

R = 0.9819

Porosity

3.0

0.006

2

R = 0.9144

y = 0.039e

10

12

0.000

1.5

14

y = 6.4715e

0.030

-0.0382x

5.0

R = 0.9496

y = 0.1121e

Porosity/%

Permeability/10-3 m2

5.5

0.040

0.020

-0.2615x

4.5

12

Permeability

-0.0548x

y = 4.8654e

0.030

R = 0.9871

4.0

0.020

3.5

3.0

-0.2919x

0.010

y = 0.067e

2

10

12

0.000

4.0

4.5

Porosity

2.5

R = 0.9877

1.0

14

5.0

R = 0.9811

10

0.040

Permeability/10-3 m2

Permeability

Porosity

0.050

Effective stress/MPa

6.0

1.5

0.060

0.000

2.0

-0.4306x

0.002

Effective stress/MPa

0.010

2.5

-0.1325x

y = 5.8803e

0.004

R = 0.9395

3.5

Permeability

R = 0.9797

1.0

14

12

4.0

0.008

-0.0483x

Porosity/%

Permeability/10-3 m2

Permeability

y = 3.4842e

10

0.010

3.5

0.060

Effective stress/MPa

0.080

0.000

2.5

R = 0.5481

y = 0.1901e

-0.5387x

R = 0.9868

Effective stress/MPa

0.020

3.0

Porosity

Porosity/%

0.0

0.004

0.001

2.0

R = 0.9902

3.5

Permeability

Porosity/%

y = 4.2562e

0.4

-0.3086x

Permeability/10-3 m2

Permeability

1.6

0.005

Porosity/%

4.0

Porosity/%

Permeability/10-3 m2

2.0

10

12

2.0

14

Effective stress/MPa

Effective stress/MPa

Fig. 2. Relationship between porosity and permeability of coal and the effective stress.

stress

The relationship between porosity of coal and effective stress is

shown in Fig. 2. The relationship between the porosity of coal and

effective stress obeys the negative exponential function as follows:

i 0 e cp

the variation value of effective stress from the initial to a certain

stress, MPa; 0 is the porosity under initial effective stress, %; and

c is the regression coefcient, MPa 1.

Regression analysis results for six experimental samples are

shown in Table 2. 0 ranges from 2.84% to 6.47%, averagely 4.51%; c

ranges from 0.038 MPa 1 to 0.133 MPa 1, averagely 0.07 MPa 1.

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

813

Table 2

Relationship between porosity and permeability of coal and the effective stress.

Porosity

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

Average

Max. value

Minimum value

Permeability

Regression coefcient

c

Correlation coefcient

R2

Regression coefcient

a

K0

Correlation coefcient

R2

0.0491

0.0957

0.0483

0.1325

0.0382

0.0548

0.0698

0.1325

0.0382

3.4933

2.8397

3.4842

5.8803

6.4715

4.8654

4.5057

6.4715

2.8397

0.9711

0.5481

0.9819

0.9144

0.9496

0.9871

0.8920

0.9871

0.5481

0.3086

0.5387

0.3628

0.4306

0.2615

0.2919

0.3657

0.5387

0.2615

4.2562

0.0267

0.1901

0.0390

0.1121

0.0670

0.7819

4.2562

0.0267

0.9902

0.9868

0.9797

0.9395

0.9811

0.9877

0.9775

0.9902

0.9395

net conning stress

In order to more intuitively describe the inuence of coal

reservoir stress to the gas permeability, the dimensionless permeability K i =K 0 is dened as the ratio of gas permeability K i to initial

permeability of coal K 0 . The relationship between coal porosity

and the dimensionless permeability K i =K 0 under net conning

stress is shown in Fig. 3. The experiment results show an

exponential function relationship between the dimensionless

permeability K i =K 0 and porosity, that is, with the increase of

porosity, the dimensionless permeability K i =K 0 increases, which

obeys the law of exponential function. The regression analysis of

experimental results are dened as follows:

K i =K 0 mebi

r 2

8 2

0.8

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

0.0

1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

5.0

6.0

7.0

porosity/%

Fig. 3. Relationship between the porosity of coal and its permeability under the

effective stress.

permeability under net conning stress, 10 3 m2; and m and b

are regression coefcients.

The experimental results for six samples under net conning

stress indicate that regression coefcient m ranges from 0.0002 to

0.1736, averagely 0.0299, b ranges from 0.6110 to 2.9236, averagely

1.7587, as shown in Table 3.

Besides porosity, the permeability of coal reservoir is closely

related to the pore structure. Based on capillary bundle model,

Kozeny (1927)and Carman (1937) gave a theoretical equation

governing the relationship between permeability (K) of the porous

medium and the porosity and average pore radius as follows:

K

1.0

Dimensionless permeability

(K i/K0)

ID

average pore tortuosity, dimensionless.

Tortuosity is the ratio of the actual length of pores, that is, uid

ow path, to exterior length of coal core. Eq. (4) shows that two

factors inuence the permeability of coal sample, including

porosity and average pore size. The coal is characterized by

complex pore distribution and large pore tortuosity which are

difcult to be measured and evaluated. The larger the pore

diameter within a certain range, the higher the porosity, the

higher permeability is; the smaller the pore diameter, the lower

the porosity of coal samples, the lower permeability is. Inuence

of pore diameter on the permeability is a power levels higher than

porosity. The coal reservoir with relatively large pore diameter but

low porosity may have relatively high permeability; however the

coal reservoir with small pore diameter but high porosity usually

has low permeability.

Coal reservoir is a dual pore system media, containing matrix

pore system and ssure pore system. The permeability of coal

reservoir mainly depends on coal ssures. Coal is usually fractured

Table 3

Relationship between coal porosity and permeability.

ID

Coefcient

m

Coefcient

b

Correlation coefcient

R2

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

Average

Max. value

Minimum value

0.0008

0.1736

0.0002

0.0027

0.0005

0.0018

0.0299

0.1736

0.0002

2.4090

0.6110

2.9236

1.7568

1.2988

1.5529

1.7587

2.9236

0.6110

0.9842

0.6620

0.9859

0.9875

0.9844

0.9737

0.9296

0.9875

0.6620

ssures which are very important for coal reservoir. These ssures

not only provide a reservoir space, but also connect the matrix

pore by interleave network system and greatly improve the

permeability of coal reservoirs. The theoretical relationship

between the permeability in the direction parallel to fracture

and fracture porosity, aperture is as follows:

Kf

f b2

12

the average fracture porosity of coal reservoir, decimal; and K f is

the fracture permeability of coal reservoir, m2.

As can be seen from Eq. (5), the larger the fracture aperture and

fracture porosity is, the higher the coal reservoir permeability is.

But fracture aperture has a power level higher inuence to the

permeability than fracture porosity.

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

sensitivity coefcient, pore compressibility factor and effective stress

K 1 K 0min

Dk2

100%

K1

increases to the highest stress point; K 1 is the permeability under

the rst stress point, 10 3 m2; and K min

'

is the permeability

under the highest stress point, 10 3 m2.

(2) Stress sensitivity coefcient is dened as follows:

K

1 K

U

K 0 p

K is the variation of permeability, 10 3 m2; and p is the variation

of pressure, MPa.

The permeability damage rate has the same meaning as the

permeability stress sensitivity coefcient adopted in China's oil

and gas industry standards.

From Eq. (7), we can see that, the bigger the k is, the higher

the sensitivity of coal to effective stress will be. On the contrary,

the smaller the k is, the lesser the sensitivity of coal to effective

stress will be.

3.2.2. Pore compressibility factor

In order to quantitatively evaluate pore compression deformation of coal reservoir, we dened a pore compressibility factor as

follows:

1

8

Cp

0 p T

where Cp is the pore compressibility factor of coal reservoir,

MPa 1; 0 is the porosity under initial effective stress, %; and

=p T is the variation rate of coal porosity over effective stress

under isothermal conditions, MPa 1.

3.2.3. The relationship between permeability damage rate, stress

sensitivity coefcient and effective stress

Fig. 4 shows the curves of the permeability damage rate, stress

sensitivity coefcient and effective stress for six experimental coal

samples. As can be seen from Fig. 4, the permeability damage rate

and stress sensitivity coefcient increases with the variation of

effective stress, that is, with the increase of effective stress, the

coal reservoir stress sensitivity coefcient decreases, but there are

some uctuations; the permeability damage rate increases with

the increase of effective stress (Fig. 4).

Coal reservoir stress sensitivity coefcient varies signicantly

under effective stress of below 5 MPa or 6 MPa; with the increase

of effective stress, the coal reservoir stress sensitivity coefcient

declines sharply, permeability damage rate goes up rapidly. With

the increase of effective stress over 5 MPa or 6 MPa, the coal

reservoir stress sensitivity coefcient declines gently with some

uctuations, the permeability damage rate increases more slowly.

It shows that when the effective stress is below 5 MPa or 6 MPa

in No. 3 coal seam within Shanxi Formation Permian System in the

The stress sensitivity is higher for coal reservoir than for

sandstone. There are no industry standards about CBM reservoir

stress sensitivity test. Our experiment referenced the oil and gas

industry standards of China (SY/T5336, 5358, 6385) and adopted

increasing net conning pressure of coal samples to simulate the

effective stress variation of coal seam, and then determined the

permeability behavior of coal sample with change of net conning

pressure, and nally the reservoir stress sensitivity was analyzed.

(1) Permeability damage rate is calculated by Eq. (6).

0.30

100

1#PDR

2#PDR

3#PDR

4#PDR

5#PDR

6#PDR

1#SSC

2#SSC

3#SSC

4#SSC

5#SSC

6#SSC

80

60

40

0.25

0.20

0.15

0.10

20

0.05

814

0.00

0

10

12

PDR-Permeability damage rate ;SSC-stress sensitivity coefficient

Fig. 4. Relationship between permeability damage rates, stress sensitivity coefcient and the effective stress.

increase of effective stress, coal is highly sensitive to effective

stress; when the effective stress is over 5 MPa or 6 MPa, permeability decreases gently with the increase of effective stress, that is,

stress sensitivity is relatively weakened, and has some uctuation

due to the closure of micro-ssures.

Permeability damage rate under the effective stress of 10 MPa

ranges from 82.7% to 97.2%, average 89.3%; the maximum of the stress

sensitivity coefcient ranges from 0.018 MPa 1 to 0.250 MPa 1, the

minimum from 0.003 MPa 1 to 0.075 MPa 1, the average from

0.010 MPa 1 to 0.157 MPa 1, as shown in Table 4.

3.3. Relationship between the pore compressibility factor and the

effective stress

Fig. 5 shows the curves of the pore compressibility factor and

effective stress for six coal samples. As can be seen from Fig. 5,

pore compressibility factor varies with the increase of effective

stress. When effective stress is below 5 MPa or 6 MPa, coal

reservoir stress pore compressibility factor is relatively large and

decreases rapidly with the increase of the effective stress; when

the effective stress is over 5 MPa or 6 MPa, with the increase of

effective stress, coal reservoir pore compressibility factor has a

gently decreasing trend with some obvious uctuations.

The maximum of pore compressibility factor for six samples

ranges from 0.020 MPa 1 to 0.251 MPa 1, and the minimum from

0.003 MPa 1 to 0.070 MPa 1, the average from 0.011 MPa 1 to

0.115 MPa 1, as shown in Table 4. The pore compressibility factor

and stress sensitivity coefcient have almost the same variation

trend and law.

3.4. Moisture

CBM reservoir always has high water saturation in the development process, in order to investigate the inuence of water

saturation on permeability, we chose three coal samples of

different water saturations and carried out experimental analysis.

The water saturation of these three samples (7#, 8#, 9#) were

30.42%, 66.8% and 100% respectively.

The relationships between the dimensionless permeability and

effective stress for three samples are shown in Fig. 6. Under the

same water saturation, with the increase of effective stress, coal

permeability decreases in a negative exponential law. With the

increase of water saturation, stress sensitivity increases, permeability for coal sample of high water saturation drops more quickly

with the increase of the effective pressure, that is, the permeability

damage rate is bigger (Fig. 6). The water saturation of 7#, 8#, 9#

samples was 30.42%, 66.8% and 100%, respectively. Under the

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

815

Table 4

Evaluation parameters of stress sensitivity for coal reservoir.

Permeability damage rate

(%)

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

Average

Max. value

Minimum value

(MPa 1)

86.8

97.2

90.5

93.4

82.7

85.2

89.3

97.2

82.7

Average

Maximum

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Minimum

0.058

0.026

0.054

0.035

0.073

0.062

0.051

0.073

0.026

0.178

0.075

0.158

0.103

0.250

0.179

0.157

0.250

0.075

0.012

0.003

0.005

0.005

0.018

0.015

0.010

0.018

0.003

0.039

0.064

0.039

0.054

0.038

0.039

0.046

0.064

0.038

0.084

0.251

0.090

0.090

0.104

0.070

0.115

0.251

0.070

0.007

0.003

0.013

0.019

0.006

0.020

0.011

0.020

0.003

0.30

0.25

0.20

1#

2#

3#

4#

5#

6#

Table 5

Evaluation parameters of stress sensitivity for coal reservoir under different water

saturations.

ID

0.15

0.10

10

Permeability damage

rate

(MPa 1)

(%)

(%)

Average Max.

value

Minimum

value

96.8

95.9

98.6

0.075

0.085

0.111

0.008

0.011

0.005

1

Sw=30.42%

Sw=66.80%

100

0.8

0.279

0.250

0.330

12

Effective stress/MPa

Dimensionless permeability

(Ki/K0)

Water

saturation

7# 30.42

8# 66.8

9# 100

0.05

0.00

(MPa 1)

0.40

80

60

7#PDR

8#PDR

9#PDR

7#SSC

8#SSC

9#SSC

0.30

0.20

40

0.10

20

Sw=100%

0.6

0.00

0.4

10

12

Effective stress/MPa

PDR-Permeability damage rate;SSC-stress sensitivity coefficient

0.2

0

ID

Fig. 7. Relationship between permeability damage rate, stress sensitivity coefcient and the effective stress.

10

Effective stress/MPa

Fig. 6. Relationship between dimensionless permeability and effective stress under

different water saturations.

95.9% and 98.6% respectively; the average of stress sensitivity

coefcient is 0.075 MPa 1, 0.085 MPa 1 and 0.111 MPa 1 respectively (Table 5).

Compared with dry sample, the stress sensitivity for three coal

samples of different water saturations are more obvious (Fig. 7 and

Table 5).

Under the effective stress for 10 MPa, permeability damage rate of

three samples with moisture ranges from 95.9% to 98.6%. The

maximum of stress sensitivity coefcient ranges from 0.25 MPa 1

to 0.33 MPa 1, the minimum ranges from 0.005 MPa 1 to

0.011 MPa 1, the average from 0.075 MPa 1 to 0.111 MPa 1. Comparing Tables 4 and 5, we can see that stress sensitivity coefcient

and permeability damage rate are higher for these three coal samples

of different water saturations than for dry ones.

with moisture is 1.77 times as that for dry ones. Water saturation

has a relatively high impact on coal reservoir stress sensitivity,

because water softens the coals and lowers its mechanical

strength. On the other hand, the gas/water pressure will offset

part of the total stress of the coal body and decrease the elastic

limit and shear strength, then the coal is easy to generate elastic

and plastic deformation and thereby the coal samples of different

water saturations are more sensitive to effective stress than dry

ones and the increase of effective stress will cause more signicant

permeability loss (Meng and Li, 2013).

3.5. Temperature

In order to investigate the inuence of temperature on coal

reservoir permeability, we chose two coal samples (10# and 11#)

and carried out stress sensitivity experiments at 30 1C and 60 1C

respectively.

816

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

Dimensionless permeability

(Ki/K0)

Table 6

Evaluation parameters of stress sensitivity for coal reservoir under different

temperatures.

0.8

T=30

ID

T=60

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

(MPa 1)

(1C)

(%)

Average Max.

value

Minimum

value

81.3

96.0

0.067

0.070

0.015

0.010

10# 30

11# 60

0

10

different temperatures.

80

0.30

10#PDR

11#PDR

0.20

10#SSC

40

11#SSC

0.10

20

0.00

0

0

10

0.40

100

60

0.222

0.333

12

Effective stress/MPa

rate

12

Effective stress/MPa

PDR-Permeability damage rate;SSC-stress sensitivity coefficient

Fig. 9. Relationship between the permeability damage rate/stress sensitivity

coefcient and effective stress.

The relationship between dimensionless permeability and effective stress for the two coal samples under different temperatures are

shown in Fig. 8. At the same temperature, with the increase of

effective stress, permeability of coal sample reduces in the negative

exponential function law, and with the rise of temperature, stress

sensitivity increases. With the increase of the effective stress,

permeability drops more quickly for 11# coal sample of higher

temperature than 10# of lower. The higher the temperature is, more

obvious the stress sensitivity is, that is, the permeability damage rate

is bigger (Figs. 8 and 9). Under the effective stress of 10 MPa,

permeability damage rate is 81.3% for 10# and 96.0% for 11#. Average

stress sensitive coefcient is 0.067 MPa 1 for 10# and 0.070 MPa 1

for 11# (Table 6).

Coal reservoir permeability decreases with the increase of temperature, showing a temperature sensitivity. In general, the effect of

temperature rise on coal reservoir permeability can be divided into

two stages. At the low temperature stage, thermal expansion with

the rise of temperature causes a slight decline of permeability; at the

high temperature stage, coal cracking induced by thermal stress

above critical temperature will sharply increase coal reservoir

permeability. The experiments in this study aim to simulate the

permeability behavior of coal seam with a burial depth of less than

1000 m, so experimental temperatures are set as 30 1C and 60 1C

respectively, thermal cracking in this temperature range will not

occur. Therefore, in our experimental process, with the rise of

temperature, fracture aperture decreases due to thermal expansion

and thereby coal sample permeability decreases.

4. Discussion

Coal is a dual porosity medium, which contains matrix pore

system and fracture system. The fracture system contributes in a

major way to the permeability of the coal seam. So the permeability depends strongly on the aperture of the fractures in coal.

Increasing normal stress will narrow the fractures and then lower

the permeability of the coal.

Experimental results show that coal reservoir permeability

varies exponentially with the increase of effective stress, that is

K i K 0 e ap . In the drainage process of CBM wells, the water

pumping lowers the coal reservoir pressure, which leads to the

increase of effective stress and induces the decline of permeability.

This process is just the dynamic changing of the coal reservoir

permeability. Therefore, the relationship between the coal reservoir permeability and effective stress (k e ) reects the relationship between the coal reservoir permeability and producing

pressure drop in the drainage process (k P).

The No. 3 coal seam in Shanxi Formation Permian System in the

southern Qinshui basin is up to 1200 m deep, its reservoir pressure

is below 10 MPa and the reservoir pressure gradient averages

0.71 MPa/100 m. According to the CBM production experience

from US, reservoir pressure can drop to abandonment pressure

of about 0.7 MPa. That is, coal reservoir pressure varies from

10 MPa to 0.7 MPa, which corresponds to the effective stress

variation in the actual CBM well drainage.

From permeabilitystress curves (Figs. 2, 6 and 8), with the

increase of effective stress, coal reservoir permeability reduces,

which obeys the law of negative exponential function.

When the effective stress is below 5 MPa or 6 MPa, the corresponding drop of gas well uid level is from 0 m to 500 m or 600 m,

with the increase of effective stress, the coal reservoir permeability

drops rapidly, showing a high stress sensitivity. When the effective

stress is over 5 MPa or 6 MPa, the corresponding drop of gas well

uid level is above 500 m or 600 m, with the increase of effective

stress, the coal reservoir permeability decreases much more slowly,

showing a weak stress sensitivity.

Coal seam is in a certain in situ stress environment and the

stress of coal seam varies spatially. Under low in-situ stress regime

in shallow coal seam, with the increase of effective stress, plastic

deformation of coal reservoir due to compaction under stress

results in a signicant reduction in permeability; under high insitu stress regime in the deep, coal reservoir stress sensitivity will

abate due to very small initial aperture and minor compaction.

In the early drainage of a CBM well, coal seam is usually water

saturated, water pressure drops due to pumping and correspondingly

the effective stress increases and coal permeability declines quickly,

thereby the drainage in this stage should be sustained, stable and

slow. When the water pressure drops to the critical desorption

pressure (Pc), water saturation of coal reservoir decreases as the

increasing gas desorption, and gas saturation increases, the stress

sensitivity of coal seam diminishes, gas well uid level in this stage

should keep stable. In the middle and later stage of drainage,

continuous gas desorption will lead to signicant coal matrix

shrinkage and an increasingly rise in permeability and thereby gas

production goes up. In short, the change of permeability by above

two aspects will impact on the gas production. On the one hand, the

permeability variation induced by in-situ stress is a static effect; on

Y. Meng et al. / Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 133 (2015) 810817

817

are compressed and closed, signicant elasticplastic deformation occurs in coal, so the coal reservoir permeability

decreases obviously.

(5) The variation of permeability induced by in-situ stress is

greater than that by dynamic changes of the reservoir pressure

in the gas production process.

Acknowledgment

Fig. 10. Relationship between permeability and effective stress, reservoir pressure

(Luo, 2006).

and Technology Major Project in 12th Five-Year Plan Period under

Grant no. 2011ZX05038-2-1, and Shanxi Provincial Basic Research

ProgramCoal Bed Methane Joint Research Foundation under

Grant no. 2013012002. The authors also thank the reviewers and

editors for their constructive comments and suggestions on

improving this manuscript.

References

pressure change during production process is a dynamic effect.

Fig. 10 shows the relationship between the permeability and effective

stress, and reservoir pressure. The X-axis denotes permeability and

the Y-axis effective stress. The heavy solid line represents the

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5. Conclusions

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