The San Juan Basin is the most productive coalbed methane (CBM) basin in North America, spanning approximately 7,500 square miles near the Colorado-New Mexico border. The coal in this basin is thick, ranging from 20 to 80 feet. Most of the CBM development in the San Juan Basin is located in areas where there are major aquifers being tapped to provide water supply, making water management a crucial part of CBM production.
Conventional hydrocarbon development of the San Juan Basin began in the 1930s, and until the 1990s primary gas production was from the sandstones beneath the coal. For over 50 years, the Fruitland coals were considered a nuisance because water influx and high pressures required well casing to be set before drilling to the deeper reservoirs. More than 20,000 wells penetrated through the Fruitland coals before the industry recognized, in the 1970s, the potential gas resource trapped in the coal.
Like other basins, San Juan has its share of challenges. Up-front costs are high and evaluation must be done in a holistic way to truly understand the production potential – requiring unique applications of technology to effectively enhance production.
Setting the industry standard through technology innovation
Halliburton has helped CBM producers reach maximum production potential in the San Juan basin through innovative technology application. In the Four Corners area, our refracturing technology helped provide faster payouts by advancing dewatering and overall production. In the Fruitland coal region, wells historically had to be hydraulically fractured to be economical and still were not always successful. After Halliburton completely revised a customer's stimulation treatments using multi-stage fracturing, the property gained up to a 200 percent increase in gas rates, and in a few wells, more than 200 percent. Water production also decreased in most wells. From that point forward, multi-stage fracturing became the prevalent method used in Fruitland CBM wells.
Benefiting the environment by reusing produced water
A vast quantity of produced water is generated during gas production in the San Juan Basin. Most of the saline produced water is re-injected into disposal wells at a significant expense to the producer. Due to the persistent drought condition in New Mexico, beneficial use of the water is receiving increasingly more attention in the gas production industry. Halliburton demonstrated the feasibility of using untreated produced water as a base fluid for crosslinked gel-based hydraulic fracturing.