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Comment period is open for the EPA proposed rule that would require CCS, carbon capture and storage. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule, "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units," is open for comment until March 10.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is perhaps commercially viable but not proven at commercial scale, according to 100 clean-energy experts that recently released their recommendations to the White House: "Powering Forward: Presidential and Executive Agency Actions to Drive Clean Energy in America."

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Every six months, chairs of the Energy Minerals Division committees convene and report on developments in the areas they cover. In this column, we highlight important observations from these recent reports.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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The influence of moisture, temperature, coal rank, and differential enthalpy on the methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) sorption capacity of coals of different rank has been investigated by using high-pressure sorption isotherms at 303, 318, and 333 K (CH4) and 318, 333, and 348 K (CO2), respectively. The variation of sorption capacity was studied as a function of burial depth of coal seams using the corresponding Langmuir parameters in combination with a geothermal gradient of 0.03 K/m and a normal hydrostatic pressure gradient. Taking the gas content corresponding to 100% gas saturation at maximum burial depth as a reference value, the theoretical CH4 saturation after the uplift of the coal seam was computed as a function of depth. According to these calculations, the change in sorption capacity caused by changing pressure, temperature conditions during uplift will lead consistently to high saturation values. Therefore, the commonly observed undersaturation of coal seams is most likely related to dismigration (losses into adjacent formations and atmosphere). Finally, we attempt to identify sweet spots for CO2-enhanced coalbed methane (CO2-ECBM) production. The CO2-ECBM is expected to become less effective with increasing depth because the CO2-to-CH4 sorption capacity ratio decreases with increasing temperature and pressure. Furthermore, CO2-ECBM efficiency will decrease with increasing maturity because of the highest sorption capacity ratio and affinity difference between CO2 and CH4 for low mature coals.

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Predicting the presence and connectivity of reservoir-quality facies in otherwise mud-prone fluvial overbank successions is important because such sand bodies can potentially provide connectivity between larger neighboring sand bodies. This article addresses minor channelized fluvial elements (crevasse-splay and distributary channels) and attempts to predict the connectivity between such sand bodies in two interseam packages of the Upper Permian Rangal Coal Measures of northeastern Australia. Channel-body percent as measured in well logs was 2% in the upper (Aries-Castor) interseam and 17% in the lower (Castor-Pollux) interseam. Well spacing were too great to allow accurate correlation of channel bodies. The Ob River, Siberia, was used as a modern analog to supply planform geometric measurements of splay and distributary channels so that stochastic modeling of channel bodies was possible. The resulting models demonstrated that (1) channel-body connectivity is more uniform between minor distributary channels than between crevasse-splay channels; (2) relatively good connectivity is seen in proximal positions in splays but decreases distally from the source as channel elements diverge; and (3) connectivity tends to be greater down the axis of splays, with more isolated channel bodies occurring at the margins.
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Not oil, not shale, but a huge resource! Industry interest in developing oil shale production technology rises and falls with oil prices and the availability of cheaper options. Shale oil in formations like the Bakken is currently more economically attractive and less risky. Chevron, Shell and Exxon-Mobil have ended their oil shale projects in the past year, but Red Leaf Resources is moving ahead.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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The president’s Climate Action Plan, released June 25, aims to slow the effects of climate change.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Gas hydrates, ice-like substances composed of water and gas molecules (methane, ethane, propane, etc.), occur in permafrost areas and in deep water marine environments.

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Natural gas hydrates are naturally occurring combinations of water and natural gas (mainly methane) that form under conditions of high pressure and low temperature. They are known to be widespread in permafrost regions and in deepwater sediments of outer continental margins. It is generally accepted that the amount of natural gas contained in the world's hydrate accumulations greatly exceeds the volume of known conventional gas reserves, and can be commercially produced by adapting existing conventional oil and gas production technology. 

The global resource potential of gas hydrate is in the range of many thousands of trillion cubic feet (Tcf). By comparison, the current annual global demand for natural gas is approximately 117 Tcf. While the current natural gas glut has slowed industry interest in North America, other nations are pressing forward. The 2013 production test in Japan demonstrated the technical feasibility of hydrate production, and commercial production is planned there for 2017. India, South Korea, and China are in close pursuit. The U.S. hydrate program received renewed focus in 2014.

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