LARAMIE, Wyo.--()--Wyoming-based global company WellDog has commercialized an innovative coal gas testing technology which, for the first time, will allow mining companies to accurately detect and map underground gas characteristics before mining without drilling the extra wells required by slower and more expensive core sampling techniques.
“We combined gas testing technology from the USA with Australia’s unique open hole coal permeability testing technology to develop a tool that measures both gas content and permeability at the same time in existing exploration holes”
“This technology can save lives,” said John M. Pope, Ph.D., president and CEO of WellDog.
The new technology is already helping major mining companies in Australia and southern Africa optimize mine designs and identify safety risks before commencing mining operations, potentially slashing more than 30 percent off drilling-related exploration costs and cutting years from new mine lead times while identifying high levels of greenhouse gases that can be mitigated by pre-drainage instead of emitted into the atmosphere.
Two of the biggest safety risks in mining are coal gas outbursts and explosions, which can occur when gases, specifically methane and carbon dioxide, stored under pressure in a coal seam are forcefully ejected or ignited.
WellDog CEO John Pope said mine safety is a worldwide issue and Australia’s stringent safety testing requirements and movement to deeper, gassier coal seams provided the perfect environment in which to develop and refine the new technical service.
“We combined gas testing technology from the USA with Australia’s unique open hole coal permeability testing technology to develop a tool that measures both gas content and permeability at the same time in existing exploration holes,” Dr. Pope said.
Dr. Pope said across the world coal exploration was going deeper than ever before, presenting increased challenges for mine safety management. “Companies are encountering more gas under higher pressures, which has created a need for this more accurate, cost-effective and reliable technical service,” he said. “But we believe the greatest benefit of this technology will be in areas where a general lack of infrastructure and services do not allow assessment of gas safety and emission risks before underground mines are built. Our technical service is highly portable and suitable for use in remote locations with minimal infrastructure.”
Current methods of detecting methane and carbon dioxide characteristics require special wells to be drilled and core samples to be extracted and sent to laboratories, a difficult process that often takes many months and can be prone to errors in areas with limited laboratory infrastructure and few experienced laboratory staff or with coals that are difficult to handle.
WellDog’s technical service uses a unique combination of technologies to deliver conclusive results within hours or days at the mine site, and with 30 percent fewer wells.
Dr. Pope said WellDog is actively marketing the GasMapper service worldwide, including to Australia, the U.S., Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe.
Video animation of GasMapper is available at http://youtu.be/-UKCQkgQspw.
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WellDog (www.welldog.com) is an energy-focused technical services company that works closely with coal and natural gas companies to employ innovative technologies to produce more resources, faster, with less environmental and community impact.