Characterization of tight gas reservoir pore structure using USANS/SANS and gas adsorption analysis

Clarkson, C.R., Freeman, M., He, L., Agamalian, M., Melnichenko, Y.B., Mastalerz, M., Bustin, R.M., Radlinski, A.P., & Blach, T.P. (2012) Characterization of tight gas reservoir pore structure using USANS/SANS and gas adsorption analysis. Fuel, 95, pp. 371-385.

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Small-angle and ultra-small-angle neutron scattering (SANS and USANS) measurements were performed on samples from the Triassic Montney tight gas reservoir in Western Canada in order to determine the applicability of these techniques for characterizing the full pore size spectrum and to gain insight into the nature of the pore structure and its control on permeability.

The subject tight gas reservoir consists of a finely laminated siltstone sequence; extensive cementation and moderate clay content are the primary causes of low permeability. SANS/USANS experiments run at ambient pressure and temperature conditions on lithologically-diverse sub-samples of three core plugs demonstrated that a broad pore size distribution could be interpreted from the data. Two interpretation methods were used to evaluate total porosity, pore size distribution and surface area and the results were compared to independent estimates derived from helium porosimetry (connected porosity) and low-pressure N2 and CO2 adsorption (accessible surface area and pore size distribution).

The pore structure of the three samples as interpreted from SANS/USANS is fairly uniform, with small differences in the small-pore range (<2000 Å), possibly related to differences in degree of cementation, and mineralogy, in particular clay content. Total porosity interpreted from USANS/SANS is similar to (but systematically higher than) helium porosities measured on the whole core plug. Both methods were used to estimate the percentage of open porosity expressed here as a ratio of connected porosity, as established from helium adsorption, to the total porosity, as estimated from SANS/USANS techniques.

Open porosity appears to control permeability (determined using pressure and pulse-decay techniques), with the highest permeability sample also having the highest percentage of open porosity. Surface area, as calculated from low-pressure N2 and CO2 adsorption, is significantly less than surface area estimates from SANS/USANS, which is due in part to limited accessibility of the gases to all pores. The similarity between N2 and CO2-accessible surface area suggests an absence of microporosity in these samples, which is in agreement with SANS analysis.

A core gamma ray profile run on the same core from which the core plug samples were taken correlates to profile permeability measurements run on the slabbed core. This correlation is related to clay content, which possibly controls the percentage of open porosity. Continued study of these effects will prove useful in log-core calibration efforts for tight gas.

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ID Code: 58921
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Tight gas, Pore structure, Small-angle neutron scattering, Gas adsorption
DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2011.12.010
ISSN: 1873-7153
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > GEOLOGY (040300) > Petroleum and Coal Geology (040309)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > GEOPHYSICS (040400) > Geophysics not elsewhere classified (040499)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Deposited On: 05 Apr 2013 01:00
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2013 03:43

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