Relative permeability curves in coalbed methane reservoirs (CBM), acquired by analysis of production data, can differ from laboratory-measured curves due to complications such as stress-desorption dependent permeability and cross-formational flow. This paper aims to derive relative permeability curves for coalbed methane reservoirs using production data analysis, as well as discuss curve characteristics and shapes. Field examples from the San Juan Basin in the US and the Qinshui and Ordos Basins in China are presented to provide a worldwide view of relative permeability curve shapes. These field examples are analysed using a tank type model, a common production data analysis tool, and the influential factors on curve shapes are discussed. The results and analysis indicate that permeability enhancement during the life of the well, and cross-formational flow between the coal seam and adjacent formations, can strongly control curve shapes. These effects, when not detected, can result in irregular relative permeability curve shapes obtained by analysis of production data. Direct measurement of permeability enhancement requires time-lapse production tests while investigation of cross-formational flow of water into coal seams requires hydraulic connectivity assessment, which are time consuming and expensive to conduct. The signatures of relative permeability curves presented in this study allow indirect determination of permeability enhancement and cross-formational flow in coal seam gas reservoirs.

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