Northwest Energy Association



NWEA Speaker Program for 2017-2018

February 15, 2018 Luncheon

Paul Oldaker

Twenty Three Years of CBM Production and Monitoring of the Pine River Subcrop and Gas Seeps. No Depletion.

 Starting in 1994 a ground water, surface water and gas seepage monitoring network was set up in response to observed gas seepage near the subcrop of a producing Coal Bed Methane (CBM) formation and the Pine River in the San Juan Basin, southwestern Colorado. The null hypothesis was that CBM production was releasing gas at the subcrop due to downbasin CBM water pumping. The null hypothesis was tested using down hole video, packer testing, reservoir/seepage production analysis, temperature tracing, cation water quality, water age and potentiometric head trends. Based on the 23 years of observations, measurements and analyses, the CBM null hypothesis was rejected. Since there was no hydraulic connection between the subcrop and CBM production, there was no depletion from the Pine River. A new null hypothesis that gas seepage was due to long term precipitation trends was formulated in 2000 by the author. It continues to be accepted 18 years later.

This presentation was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the AAPG.

​Paul Older is a geologist/geohydrologist/hydrologist. He has provided forty years of service to the water supply, environmental and energy related industries for coal hydrogeology. This has included lectures, reservoir evaluations, coal bed methane desorption analysis, production and monitor well drilling, completion, and testing, dewatering, well and mine permit applications. This has included 140 projects for the oil and gas industry with 127 coal bed methane projects and 66 coal mine projects. I have performed projects for clients in most western states, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, and Peru. Paul is presently based in Federal Way, Washington.