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Reservoir characteristics and methane adsorption capacity of the Upper Triassic continental shale in Western Sichuan Depression, China

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The well-developed continental shale sequences in the Western Sichuan Depression are characterised by extremely low porosity and permeability, complex lithologies and strong lateral facies changes. The overall lack of proper characterisation of the shale properties has restricted gas exploration and development in the region. In this study, shales from the fifth member of the Xujiahe Formation of the Upper Triassic (T3x5) are comprehensively characterised in terms of their organic geochemistry, mineral composition, microscopic pore structure and gas content. In addition, the influence of various geological factors on the adsorbed gas content is investigated. We proposed a new model for predicting the adsorption gas content of continental shale. The T3x5 shale sequence is found to be rich in organic matter but with variable mineral compositions, pore types and reservoir physical properties. The porosity and permeability of shales are better than those of siltstones and fine sandstones interbedded with the shale under an overall densification background. Mesopores (2–50 nm) are common in the shale sequence, followed by micropores and then macropores. The gas-adsorption capacity of organic-rich shales increases with increasing TOC and clay-mineral contents, maturity and pressure, but decreases with increasing quartz content, carbonate minerals and temperature. The gas-adsorption capacity can thus be expressed as a function of organic matter, clay-mineral content, temperature and pressure. The calculated results are in good agreement with the experiment results and indicate that adsorption gas in the studied shales accounts for 78.9% of the total gas content.
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Keywords: China; Western Sichuan Depression; continental shale; main controlling geological factors; methane adsorption capacity; reservoir characteristics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources and Prospecting, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 102200, PR China 2: College of Geosciences, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 102200, PR China

Publication date: August 18, 2017

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