A fully coupled hydro-mechanical model for the modeling of coalbed methane recovery

François Bertrand, Benjamin Cerfontaine, Frédéric Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
274 Downloads (Pure)


Most coal seams hold important quantities of methane which is recognized as a valuable energy resource. Coal reservoir is considered not conventional because methane is held adsorbed on the coal surface. Coal is naturally fractured, it is a dual-porosity system made of matrix blocks and cleats (i.e fractures). In general, cleats are initially water saturated with the hydrostatic pressure maintaining the gas adsorbed in the coal matrix. Production of coalbed methane (CBM) first requires the mobilization of water in the cleats to reduce the reservoir pressure. Changes of coal properties during methane production are a critical issue in coalbed methane recovery. Indeed, any change of the cleat network will likely translate into modifications of the reservoir permeability. This work consists in the formulation of a consistent hydro-mechanical model for the CBM production modeling. Due to the particular structure of coal, the model is based on a dual-continuum approach to enrich the macroscale with microscale considerations. Shape factors are employed to take into account the geometry of the matrix blocks in the mass exchange between matrix and fractures. The hydro-mechanical model is fully coupled. For example, it captures the sorption-induced volumetric strain or the dependence of permeability on fracture aperture, which evolves with the stress state. The model is implemented in the finite element code Lagamine and is used for the modeling of one production well. A synthetic reservoir and then a real production case are considered. To date, attention has focused on a series of parametric analyses that can highlight the influence of the production scenario or key parameters related to the reservoir.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-325
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
Early online date20 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Coalbed methane
  • Dual-porosity
  • Shape factor
  • Couplings
  • Reservoir modeling


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