The exploration for and development of coalbed methane (CBM), more accurately termed "coalbed gas", requires a thorough understanding of the geology of both coal and petroleum, together with many aspects of mining and reservoir engineering. Furthermore, the geology of the entire coal-bearing sequence(s) in an area of interest should be evaluated carefully. This evaluation should include any contributions by structural features and other lithological units that may be capable of storing volumes of coal-generated hydrocarbons.
Exploration studies should address such topics as 1) the physical and chemical nature of the coal (rank, chemistry, depositional environment, diagenesis, mineralization, etc.), 2) the thermal history and hydrodynamics of the region of interest, 3) composite thickness of the coal seams and of the overburden, 4) geologic structure and tectonic features, such as fracture patterns and igneous units, 5) coalbed gas desorption data in the study area, and 6) a petrographic analysis of available coal cores and well cuttings.
Figures & Tables
This volume of the “Atlas of Coal Geology” provides 393 images on various subject matters related to coal deposits and coal resource utilization. The supporting text provides an introductory overview of coal exploration, mining, and coalbed methane (CBM) development, followed by discussions on various megascopic aspects of coal geology (microscopic aspects are covered in Volume 2). Because of the vast subject matter, many generalities had to be made in the text. References are included to guide those interested to more detailed discussions. All citations within the document are linked to the detailed reference list for this volume. The overriding theme for this publication is that a picture is worth a thousand words.