Hydraulic fracturing has been a key technology in the development of coalbed methane (CBM) resources worldwide. Obtaining adequate fracture length and conductivity has limited the ability to obtain adequate productivity improvement to further develop many small seams or stacked-seam reservoirs. Fracture complexity and growth out of the interval have frequently been cited as limiting factors in achieving optimal length in these types of intervals; however, the diagnostics to evaluate and model these effects have been limited. Finally, many of the past studies of hydraulic fracturing mechanics in coal have been focused on North American examples where normal faulting stress states are present, unlike many of the coal-producing basins worldwide and particularly in Eastern Australia.

Using examples from the Scotia Field, we describe how past and present stress framework analyses and post-frac treatment diagnostics were integrated to better describe the in-situ stress state. Through analyses of these examples, we qualify the inter-relationships of productivity to in-situ stress, pre-existing fractures, and observations from the induced hydraulic fractures. Finally, we describe cases where the hydraulic fracturing complexity and in-situ stress conditions lead to wellbore complications and observable rock-mechanical failures. The end result is a more predictive model, which is being used to develop this CBM resource.

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