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Coalbed natural gas exploration, drilling activities, and geologic test results, 2007-2010

March 28, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the North Slope Borough, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation conducted a four-year study designed to identify, define, and delineate a shallow coalbed natural gas (CBNG) resource with the potential to provide locally produced, affordable power to the community of Wainwright, Alaska. From 2007 through 2010, drilling and testing activities conducted at three sites in or near Wainwright, identified and evaluated an approximately 7.5-ft-thick, laterally continuous coalbed that contained significant quantities of CBNG. This coalbed, subsequently named the Wainwright coalbed, was penetrated at depths ranging from 1,167 ft to 1,300 ft below land surface. Core samples were collected from the Wainwright coalbed at all three drill locations and desorbed-gas measurements were taken from seventeen 1-ft-thick sections of the core. These measurements indicate that the Wainwright coalbed contains enough CBNG to serve as a long-term energy supply for the community.

Although attempts to produce viable quantities of CBNG from the Wainwright coalbed proved unsuccessful, it seems likely that with proper well-field design and by utilizing currently available drilling and reservoir stimulation techniques, this CBNG resource could be developed as a long-term economically viable energy source for Wainwright.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Coalbed natural gas exploration, drilling activities, and geologic test results, 2007-2010
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141004
Authors Arthur C. Clark
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2014-1004
Index ID ofr20141004
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Energy Resources Science Center