The Influence of Drying and Stress on the Permeability of Texas Lignite

[+] Author and Article Information
T. W. Thompson, K. E. Gray

Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.

S. Sen

Center for Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.

T. F. Edgar

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex.

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 99(4), 634-640 (Nov 01, 1977) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3454586 History: Received June 07, 1977; Online October 25, 2010


Tests have been carried out to quantify the variation in permeability of Texas lignite with drying and with applied stress. It has been shown that the matrix permeability of lignite may be increased from effectively zero to the order of 10 darcies by removing about 20 percent by weight of water. In addition, an increase of confining pressure after drying will reduce the permeability, but only by about one order of magnitude. Drying of the matrix thus may produce matrix permeabilities of the same order as the undried field fracture permeability. The permeability increase of the matrix is initially greater parallel to the bedding than perpendicular, but after further drying the two orientations show similar final permeabilities. This drying effect could have a significant influence on the operation of an in-situ gasification process by increasing the transmissivity and injectivity of the producing seam. Drying of the seam could occur by the flow of unsaturated gas and will be enhanced by combustion.

Copyright © 1977 by ASME
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