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Title: Nanostructural control of methane release in kerogen and its implications to wellbore production decline

In spite of the massive success of shale gas production in the US in the last few decades there are still major concerns with the steep decline in wellbore production and the large uncertainty in a long-term projection of decline curves. A reliable projection must rely on a mechanistic understanding of methane release in shale matrix–a limiting step in shale gas extraction. Here we show that methane release in nanoporous kerogen matrix is characterized by fast release of pressurized free gas (accounting for ~30–47% recovery) followed by slow release of adsorbed gas as the gas pressure decreases, and we use molecular simulations to demonstrate it. The first stage is driven by the gas pressure gradient while the second stage is controlled by gas desorption and diffusion. We further show that diffusion of all methane in nanoporous kerogen behaves differently from the bulk phase, with much smaller diffusion coefficients. The MD simulations also indicate that a significant fraction (3–35%) of methane deposited in kerogen can potentially become trapped in isolated nanopores and thus not recoverable. Finally, our results shed a new light on mechanistic understanding gas release and production decline in unconventional reservoirs. The long-term production decline appears controlled by themore » second stage of gas release.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1257808
Report Number(s):
SAND2016--1324J
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322; srep28053
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING