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Key factors controlling the gas adsorption capacity of shale: A study based on parallel experiments

Li, Jijun, Yan, Xintong, Wang, Weiming, Zhang, Yanian, Yin, Jianxin, Lu, Shuangfang, Chen, Fangwen, Meng, Yuanlin, Zhang, Xinwen, Chen, Xiang, Yan, Yongxin, Zhu, Jingxiu
Applied geochemistry 2015 v.58 pp. 88-96
adsorption, carbon dioxide, clay, clay minerals, gases, geochemistry, humidity, hydrophilicity, methane, micropores, natural gas, organic matter, porosity, shale, simulation models, sorption isotherms, surface area, temperature
This article performed a series of parallel experiments with numerical modeling to reveal key factors affecting the gas adsorption capacity of shale, including shale quality, gas composition and geological conditions. Adsorption experiments for shales with similar OM types and maturities indicate that the OM is the core carrier for natural gas in shale, while the clay mineral has limited effect. The N2 and CO2 adsorption results indicate pores less than 3nm in diameter are the major contributors to the specific surface area for shale, accounting for 80% of the total. In addition, micropores less than 2nm in diameter are generated in large numbers during the thermal evolution of organic matter, which substantially increases the specific surface area and adsorption capacity. Competitive adsorption experiments prove that shale absorbs more CO2 than CH4, which implies that injection CO2 could enhance the CH4 recovery, and further research into N2 adsorption competitiveness is needed. The Langmuir model simulations indicate the shale gas adsorption occurs via monolayers. Geologically applying the adsorption potential model indicates that the adsorption capacity of shale initially increases before decreasing with increasing depth due to the combined temperature and pressure, which differs from the changing storage capacity pattern for free gases that gradually increase with increasing depth at a constant porosity. These two tendencies cause a mutual conversion between absorbed and free gas that favors shale gas preservation. During the thermal evolution of organic matter, hydrophilic NSO functional groups gradually degrade, reduce the shale humidity and increase the gas adsorption capacity. The shale quality, gas composition and geological conditions all affect the adsorption capacity. Of these factors, the clay minerals and humidity are less important and easily overshadowed by the other factors, such as organic matter abundance.