Nav: Home

The physics of extracting gas from shale formations

November 30, 2018

Extracting gas from new sources is vital in order to supplement dwindling conventional supplies. Shale reservoirs host gas trapped in the pores of mudstone, which consists of a mixture of silt mineral particles ranging from 4 to 60 microns in size, and clay elements smaller than 4 microns. Surprisingly, the oil and gas industry still lacks a firm understanding of how the pore space and geological factors affect gas storage and its ability to flow in the shale. In a study published in EPJ E, Natalia Kovalchuk and Constantinos Hadjistassou from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, review the current state of knowledge regarding flow processes occurring at scales ranging from the nano- to the microscopic during shale gas extraction. This knowledge can help to improve gas recovery and lower shale gas production costs.

Extracting gas from shale has become a popular method in North America and has attracted growing interest in South America and Asia, despite some public opposition. Unlike conventional reservoirs, the pore structures of shale gas reservoirs range from the nanometric to microscopic scale; most natural gas reservoirs display microscopic or larger scale pores.

In this paper, the authors outline the latest insights into how the pore distribution and geometry of the shale matrix affect the mechanics of the gas transport process during extraction. In turn, they present a model based on a microscopic image obtained via scanning electron microscopy to determine how gas pressure and gas speed vary throughout the shale. The model is in agreement with experimental evidence.

The authors reveal that the orientation, density and magnitude of rock bottlenecks can affect the volume and flow in gas production, due to their impact on the distribution of pressure throughout the reservoir. The findings of their numerical simulation match available theoretical evidence.
-end-
Reference:

N. Kovalchuk and C. Hadjistassou (2018), New Insights from Shale Gas Production at the Microscopic Scale, Eur. Phys. J. E, 2018, 41:134. DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2018-11741-5

Springer

Related Shale Gas Articles:

Atmospheric pressure impacts greenhouse gas emissions from leaky oil and gas wells
Fluctuations in atmospheric pressure can heavily influence how much natural gas leaks from wells below the ground surface at oil and gas sites, according to new University of British Columbia research.
Natural-gas leaks are important source of greenhouse gas emissions in Los Angeles
Liyin He, a Caltech graduate student, finds that methane in L.A.'s air correlates with the seasonal use of gas for heating homes and businesses
UNH research finds shale natural gas development impacting recreationists
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire took a closer look at shale natural gas energy development (SGD) and how it is affecting the experiences of outdoor recreationists, like hikers and campers.
A voracious Cambrian predator, Cambroraster, is a new species from the Burgess Shale
Palaeontologists at the Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto have uncovered fossils of a large new predatory species in half-a-billion-year-old rocks from Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
Hydrogen-natural gas hydrates harvested by natural gas
A recent study has suggested a new strategy for stably storing hydrogen, using natural gas as a stabilizer.
Understanding physics could lead to big gains in shale oil recovery
Oil companies are missing out on vast sums of recoverable oil in unconventional reservoirs, according to Penn State experts.
The physics of extracting gas from shale formations
In a recent article published in EPJ E, Natalia Kovalchuk and Constantinos Hadjistassou from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, have distilled the current state of knowledge regarding the multi-scale flow processes occurring during shale gas extraction.
Ground and stream water clues reveal shale drilling impacts
Chemical clues in waters near Marcellus Shale gas wells in rural Pennsylvania can identify new drilling-related sources of methane contamination, according to scientists.
How slick water and black shale in fracking combine to produce radioactive waste
Study explains how radioactive radium transfers to wastewater in the widely-used method to extract oil and gas.
Putting gas under pressure
Understanding gas flames' response to acoustic perturbations at high pressure should make next-generation turbines safer and more efficient.
More Shale Gas News and Shale Gas Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.