skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Capillary pressure – saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter

Abstract

Hydraulic fracturing of gas shale formations involves pumping a large volume of fracking fluid into a hydrocarbon reservoir to fracture the rock and thus increase its permeability. The majority of the fracking fluid introduced is never recovered and the fate of this lost fluid, often called “leak off,” has become the source of much debate. Information on the capillary pressure – saturation relationship for each wetting phase is needed to simulate leak off using numerical reservoir models. The petroleum industry commonly employs air – water capillary pressure – saturation curves to predict these relationships for mixed wet reservoirs. Traditional methods of measuring this curve are unsuitable for gas shales due to high capillary pressures associated with the small pores present. Still, a possible alternative method is the water activity meter which is used widely in the soil sciences for such measurements. However, its application to lithified material has been limited. Here, this study utilized a water activity meter to measure air – water capillary pressures (ranging from 1.3 to 219.6 MPa) at several water saturation levels in both the wetting and drying directions. Water contents were measured gravimetrically. Seven types of gas producing shale with different porosities (2.5–13.6%) and totalmore » organic carbon contents (0.4–13.5%) were investigated. Nonlinear regression was used to fit the resulting capillary pressure – water saturation data pairs for each shale type to the Brooks and Corey equation. Data for six of the seven shale types investigated were successfully fitted (median R2 = 0.93), indicating this may be a viable method for parameterizing capillary pressure – saturation relationships for inclusion in numerical reservoir models. As expected, the different shale types had statistically different Brooks and Corey parameters. However, there were no significant differences between the Brooks and Corey parameters for the wetting and drying measurements, suggesting that hysteresis may not need to be taken into account in leak off simulations.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  2. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Knoxville, TN (United States). Division of Geology
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Chemical Sciences Division
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Chemical Sciences Division
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Energy and Transportation Science Division
  6. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division
  7. Univ. of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
OSTI Identifier:
1325468
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1406137
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 33; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1875-5100
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Water activity meter; Capillary pressure; Volumetric water content; Porosity; Shale; Brooks and Corey

Citation Formats

Donnelly, B., Perfect, E., McKay, L. D., Lemiszki, P. J., DiStefano, V. H., Anovitz, L. M., McFarlane, J., Hale, R. E., and Cheng, C. -L. Capillary pressure – saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2016.05.014.
Donnelly, B., Perfect, E., McKay, L. D., Lemiszki, P. J., DiStefano, V. H., Anovitz, L. M., McFarlane, J., Hale, R. E., & Cheng, C. -L. Capillary pressure – saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2016.05.014
Donnelly, B., Perfect, E., McKay, L. D., Lemiszki, P. J., DiStefano, V. H., Anovitz, L. M., McFarlane, J., Hale, R. E., and Cheng, C. -L. Tue . "Capillary pressure – saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2016.05.014. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1325468.
@article{osti_1325468,
title = {Capillary pressure – saturation relationships for gas shales measured using a water activity meter},
author = {Donnelly, B. and Perfect, E. and McKay, L. D. and Lemiszki, P. J. and DiStefano, V. H. and Anovitz, L. M. and McFarlane, J. and Hale, R. E. and Cheng, C. -L.},
abstractNote = {Hydraulic fracturing of gas shale formations involves pumping a large volume of fracking fluid into a hydrocarbon reservoir to fracture the rock and thus increase its permeability. The majority of the fracking fluid introduced is never recovered and the fate of this lost fluid, often called “leak off,” has become the source of much debate. Information on the capillary pressure – saturation relationship for each wetting phase is needed to simulate leak off using numerical reservoir models. The petroleum industry commonly employs air – water capillary pressure – saturation curves to predict these relationships for mixed wet reservoirs. Traditional methods of measuring this curve are unsuitable for gas shales due to high capillary pressures associated with the small pores present. Still, a possible alternative method is the water activity meter which is used widely in the soil sciences for such measurements. However, its application to lithified material has been limited. Here, this study utilized a water activity meter to measure air – water capillary pressures (ranging from 1.3 to 219.6 MPa) at several water saturation levels in both the wetting and drying directions. Water contents were measured gravimetrically. Seven types of gas producing shale with different porosities (2.5–13.6%) and total organic carbon contents (0.4–13.5%) were investigated. Nonlinear regression was used to fit the resulting capillary pressure – water saturation data pairs for each shale type to the Brooks and Corey equation. Data for six of the seven shale types investigated were successfully fitted (median R2 = 0.93), indicating this may be a viable method for parameterizing capillary pressure – saturation relationships for inclusion in numerical reservoir models. As expected, the different shale types had statistically different Brooks and Corey parameters. However, there were no significant differences between the Brooks and Corey parameters for the wetting and drying measurements, suggesting that hysteresis may not need to be taken into account in leak off simulations.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jngse.2016.05.014},
journal = {Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering},
number = C,
volume = 33,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {5}
}

Journal Article:

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 3 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Flow Units: From Conventional to Tight-Gas to Shale-Gas to Tight-Oil to Shale-Oil Reservoirs
journal, February 2014

  • Aguilera, Roberto
  • SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, Vol. 17, Issue 02
  • DOI: 10.2118/165360-PA

A review on recent developments in soil water retention theory: interfacial tension and temperature effects
journal, August 2002


Predicting Two- and Three-Fluid Capillary Pressure-Saturation Relationships of Porous Media With Fractional Wettability
journal, February 1996

  • Bradford, Scott A.; Leij, Feike J.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 32, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1029/95WR03239

Assessment of a Water Activity Meter for Rapid Measurements of Soil Water Potential
journal, June 2006


Shale Control with Balanced-Activity Oil-Continuous Muds
journal, October 1970

  • Chenevert, M. E.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 22, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.2118/2559-PA

Gas/Oil Capillary Pressure of Chalk at Elevated Pressures
journal, September 1995

  • Christoffersen, K. R.; Whitson, C. H.
  • SPE Formation Evaluation, Vol. 10, Issue 03
  • DOI: 10.2118/26673-PA

Liquid Intake of Organic Shales
journal, August 2012

  • Dehghanpour, H.; Zubair, H. A.; Chhabra, A.
  • Energy & Fuels, Vol. 26, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1021/ef3009794

Physical and hydraulic properties of volcanic rocks from Yucca Mountain, Nevada: DATA AND ANALYSIS NOTE
journal, May 2003


Equations for the soil-water characteristic curve
journal, August 1994

  • Fredlund, D. G.; Xing, Anqing
  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 31, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1139/t94-061

Rapid Measurement of Low Soil Water Potentials Using a Water Activity Meter
journal, July 1992


Factors Affecting Water Blocking and Gas Flow From Hydraulically Fractured Gas Wells
journal, December 1979

  • Holditch, Stephen A.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 31, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.2118/7561-PA

Laboratory characterisation of shale properties
journal, June 2012


Total organic carbon content determined from well logs using ΔLogR and Neuro Fuzzy techniques
journal, December 2004

  • Kamali, Mohammad Reza; Allah Mirshady, Ahad
  • Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, Vol. 45, Issue 3-4
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2004.08.005

Specific surface area and pore-size distribution in clays and shales
journal, January 2013


Steady Flow of Gas-oil-water Mixtures through Unconsolidated Sands
journal, December 1941

  • Leverett, M. C.; Lewis, W. B.
  • Transactions of the AIME, Vol. 142, Issue 01
  • DOI: 10.2118/941107-G

Systematic study of steam–water capillary pressure
journal, December 2007


Use of Water-Vapor Desorption Data in the Determination of Capillary Pressures at Low Water Saturations
journal, August 1988

  • Melrose, J. C.
  • SPE Reservoir Engineering, Vol. 3, Issue 03
  • DOI: 10.2118/16286-PA

Valid Capillary Pressure Data at Low Wetting-Phase Saturations (includes associated papers 21480 and 21618 )
journal, February 1990

  • Melrose, J. C.
  • SPE Reservoir Engineering, Vol. 5, Issue 01
  • DOI: 10.2118/18331-PA

Comparison of Different Techniques for Obtaining Capillary Pressure Data in the Low-Saturation Region
journal, September 1994

  • Melrose, J. C.; Dixon, J. R.; Mallinson, J. E.
  • SPE Formation Evaluation, Vol. 9, Issue 03
  • DOI: 10.2118/22690-PA

Borehole-Stability Model To Couple the Mechanics and Chemistry of Drilling-Fluid/Shale Interactions
journal, November 1993

  • Mody, F. K.; Hale, A. H.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 45, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.2118/25728-PA

Recovery of oil by spontaneous imbibition
journal, August 2001


Fractal analysis of soil water hysteresis as influenced by sewage sludge application
journal, October 2006


Entrance Pressure of Oil-Based Mud Into Shale: Effect of Shale, Water Activity, and Mud Properties
journal, January 2010

  • Oleas, Andres M.; Osuji, Collins E.; Chenevert, Martin E.
  • SPE Drilling & Completion, Vol. 25, Issue 01
  • DOI: 10.2118/116364-PA

Measurements of air-filled porosity in unsaturated organic matrices using a pycnometer
journal, February 1997


Fractal Analysis of Soil Water Desorption Data Collected on Disturbed Samples with Water Activity Meters
journal, July 2004

  • Perfect, E.; Kenst, A. B.; Díaz-Zorita, M.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 68, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2004.1177

Capillary Pressures - Their Measurement Using Mercury and the Calculation of Permeability Therefrom
journal, February 1949

  • Purcell, W. R.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 1, Issue 02
  • DOI: 10.2118/949039-G

Bulk Density Determination by Automated Three-Dimensional Laser Scanning
journal, November 2008

  • Rossi, Ann M.; Hirmas, Daniel R.; Graham, Robert C.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 72, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2008.0072N

Shale testing and capillary phenomena
journal, October 1994

  • Schmitt, L.; Forsans, T.; Santarelli, F. J.
  • International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences & Geomechanics Abstracts, Vol. 31, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1016/0148-9062(94)90145-7

The behaviour of clay shales in water
journal, February 1986

  • Seedsman, Ross
  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1139/t86-003

Water vapor adsorption on geothermal reservoir rocks
journal, August 1995


The Kelvin equation—a review
journal, January 1972


Use of Centrifuge for Determining Connate Water, Residual Oil, and Capillary Pressure Curves of Small Core Samples
journal, April 1951

  • Slobod, R. L.; Chambers, Adele; Prehn, W. L.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 3, Issue 04
  • DOI: 10.2118/951127-G

Geologic Aspects of Tight Gas Reservoirs in the Rocky Mountain Region
journal, July 1985

  • Spencer, Charles W.
  • Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 37, Issue 07
  • DOI: 10.2118/11647-PA

Spontaneous countercurrent imbibition and forced displacement characteristics of low-permeability, siliceous shale rocks
journal, March 2010


4. On the Equilibrium of Vapour at a Curved Surface of Liquid
journal, January 1872


Rock physics of organic shales
journal, March 2011

  • Vernik, Lev; Milovac, Jadranka
  • The Leading Edge, Vol. 30, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1190/1.3567263

Flow-Rate Behavior and Imbibition in Shale
journal, August 2011

  • Wang, Dongmei; Butler, Raymond; Liu, Hong
  • SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, Vol. 14, Issue 04
  • DOI: 10.2118/138521-PA

Stressed-Shale Drilling Strategy--Water-Activity Design Improves Drilling Performance
journal, December 2008

  • Zhang, Jianguo; Rojas, Juan C.; Clark, David E.
  • SPE Drilling & Completion, Vol. 23, Issue 04
  • DOI: 10.2118/102498-PA

Soil Water Hysteresis in Water-Stable Microaggregates as Affected by Organic Matter
journal, January 2008

  • Zhuang, J.; McCarthy, J. F.; Perfect, E.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 72, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2007.0001S6

    Works referencing / citing this record: