Stimulating coal seams

Dave Mathieson
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Stealth Ventures calls on heavy equipment to free up gas

SPRINGHILL - Sometimes tight coal seams need stimulating to get them to flow and big time stimulation is exactly what Stealth Ventures brought to Springhill over the weekend.
With the goal of making coal-bed methane gas flow more freely from the Cumberland Basin, Stealth contracted Alberta-based BJ Well Services to crack, or in more technical terms, to frac one of three holes they drilled just outside of Springhill last year.
"They pumped fresh water and sand into Coalmine Brook 13," Stealth Ventures chief operating officer Derek Krivak said. "They used large volumes of water at a fairly high pressure."
BJ's used 12 pumper trucks to pump 700 cubic metres (700,000 litres) of water down 730 metres into a coal seam, Krivak said. The water then made a 72-degree turn and ran almost horizontal across the seam for another 1000 metres.
The fresh water and sand is being used in a process called fracturing (fraccing), whereby water and sand is injected down into the well at high pressure in order to create fractures along the coal seam.
"The premise is that the wells will not flow just drilled, it needs to be stimulated in one way, shape or form," Krivak said. "However you stimulate the well, what you're doing is creating fractures or opening up pre-existing fractures."
They began pumping water and sand solution on Sunday into the well at mid-morning and by noon the fraccing was complete.
Krivak said BJ's needed approximately eight hours from the moment they started pumping the water into the well, to when they pumped the water out and finished collecting the necessary data.
"From an operational perspective the fraccing went very well," Krivak said. "But it will take a series of months of testing for us to define the amount of gas flowing from the well. Depending on the results, we can then determine what steps we will take next. We will know if we need to step up and be more aggressive in moving forward."
Was this a big fraccing job?
"From an oil and gas perspective it was a big job," Krivak said. "I can tell you, from many company's perspective, it's a big job."
Is Krivak cautiously optimistic in the Cumberland Basin coal-bed methane gas play?
"I said this before and we'll maintain it time and time again," Krivak said. "If we're not positive on the play, or any of the plays we have, if we don't feel it has potential our job is not to keep it. Our job is to work on plays we think will work. That's why we're fraccing, we're going to continue on trying to crack that technical nut."

Organizations: Stealth Ventures, BJ Well Services

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, Cumberland Basin

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