Hydration of Transitional Shale and Evolution of Physical Properties Constrained by Concurrent NMR and Acoustic Observations

Yong Li, Lifu Xu, Jianqi Chen, Weiqi Zhang, Derek Elsworth

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Hydration state is a key factor affecting the pore structure and mechanical properties of shale that directly impacts the migration and then production of geofluids. We quantify the impact of the hydration state on physical properties through spontaneous imbibition experiments constrained by concurrent nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and acoustic observations as diagnostics of response. The long-duration experiments (24 days) are on samples from the Permian Shanxi Formation of the Ordos Basin, complemented by measurements of composition and physical properties. These shales primarily comprise quartz and clay minerals with intraparticle pores present within the clay minerals. The NMR T2 spectra indicate that mesopores (2−50 nm) comprise ∼80% of the total pore space. The imbibition rate decreases by a factor of 3 from 0.08 g/h to a stable rate of 0.03 g/h from the 1st to the 24th hour. This is accompanied by a 10% decrease in the deformation modulus from 44 to 40.3 GPa over 24 days. The reduction in the modulus is consistent with observations of the shedding and spalling of hydrophilic quartz particles from the unconstrained surface and the generation of fractures. Reduction in the imbibition rate is consistent with the swelling followed by squeezing of clay minerals and the corresponding reduction in pore diameters in the confined core of the sample, together with the reduction in saturation gradients with the progress of imbibition. Understanding the mechanisms and effects of hydration on the pore structure and mechanical properties is important in understanding the shale hydration process and defining diagnostic (acoustic and NMR) signatures that may be used in reservoir surveillance (Figure presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7809-7822
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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