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Open-File Report 2014–1004

Coalbed Natural Gas Exploration, Drilling Activities, and Geologic Test Results, 2007–2010, Wainwright, Alaska

By Arthur C. Clark

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (11.5 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the North Slope Borough, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation conducted a four-year study designed to identify, define, and delineate a shallow coalbed natural gas (CBNG) resource with the potential to provide locally produced, affordable power to the community of Wainwright, Alaska. From 2007 through 2010, drilling and testing activities conducted at three sites in or near Wainwright, identified and evaluated an approximately 7.5-ft-thick, laterally continuous coalbed that contained significant quantities of CBNG. This coalbed, subsequently named the Wainwright coalbed, was penetrated at depths ranging from 1,167 ft to 1,300 ft below land surface. Core samples were collected from the Wainwright coalbed at all three drill locations and desorbed-gas measurements were taken from seventeen 1-ft-thick sections of the core. These measurements indicate that the Wainwright coalbed contains enough CBNG to serve as a long-term energy supply for the community.

Although attempts to produce viable quantities of CBNG from the Wainwright coalbed proved unsuccessful, it seems likely that with proper well-field design and by utilizing currently available drilling and reservoir stimulation techniques, this CBNG resource could be developed as a long-term economically viable energy source for Wainwright.

First posted March 28, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Central Energy Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS-939
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225–0046

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Suggested citation:

Clark, A.C., 2014, Coalbed natural gas exploration, drilling activities, and geologic test results, 2007–2010, Wainwright, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1004, 65 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Project Background

Geologic Background

Project Objectives

2007 Project Activities

2008 Equipment Transport

2008 Project Activities

2008 Project Results

2009 Plans

2009 Project Activities

2009 Results and 2010 Plans

2010 Project Activities

2010 Results

Project Summary


References Cited

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