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Geologic coal assessment: The interface with economics

January 1, 2001

Geologic resource assessments describe the location, general characteristics, and estimated volumes of resources, whether in situ or technically recoverable. Such compilations are only an initial step in economic resource evaluation. This paper identifies, by examples from the Illinois and Appalachian basins, the salient features of a geologic assessment that assure its usefulness to downstream economic analysis. Assessments should be in sufficient detail to allocate resources to production units (mines or wells). Coal assessments should include the spatial distribution of coal bed characteristics and the ability to allocate parts of the resource to specific mining technologies. For coal bed gas assessment, the production well recoveries and well deliverability characteristics must be preserved and the risk structure should be specified so dryholes and noncommercial well costs are recovered by commercially successful wells. ?? 2001 International Association for Mathematical Geology.