WAT-2011-03 Coalbed Methane Stream Depletion Assessment Study – Sand Wash Basin, Colorado


This is the fourth of a series of coalbed methane (CBM) stream depletion assessment studies made on geologic basins around the state. Focusing on the Sand Wash Basin Basin, located primarily in Moffat and Routt counties, the report examines the effects of CBM production on water resources. Digital PDF download. WAT-2011-03D

From the Executive Summary:

CBM potential exists in the Upper Cretaceous Mesaverde Group as well as the Paleocene Fort Union Formation on the east side of the Sand Wash Basin. To date, approximately 1.7 Bcf of CBM gas and 4,000 acre-feet of water have been produced from the Mesaverde Group and essentially no CBM has been produced from the Fort Union Formation. Currently, only Slater Dome Field in the northeast part of the Basin is producing CBM; all other fields are either shut in or abandoned. Historically, annual gas production gradually rose from less than 0.1 Bcf in 2002 to just over 0.45 Bcf in 2008. Production then declined to just over 0.25 in 2009 after Pioneer Resources shut-in wells and sold their Encore Field. Water production similarly peaked in 2008 at a rate of approximately 1,000 ac-ft/yr and then declined sharply to approximately 200 ac-ft/yr after pumping at Encore ceased. The sharp decline in water production following cessation of production at the Encore Field reflects the high volume of water production associated with CBM development at that field. High rates of water production and water management challenges have been cited as impediments to CBM development in the Basin. Given high rates of water production, future CBM production may be limited to existing fields until economic or technological conditions change to make it more viable.