Shale gas reservoirs like coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs are promising targets for geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, the evolution of permeability in shale reservoirs on injection of CO2 is poorly understood unlike CBM reservoirs. In this study, we report measurements of permeability evolution in shales infiltrated separately by nonsorbing (He) and sorbing (CO2) gases under varying gas pressures and confining stresses. Experiments are completed on Pennsylvanian shales containing both natural and artificial fractures under nonpropped and propped conditions. We use the models for permeability evolution in coal (Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, Under Revision) to codify the permeability evolution observed in the shale samples. It is observed that for a naturally fractured shale, the He permeability increases by approximately 15% as effective stress is reduced by increasing the gas pressure from 1 MPa to 6 MPa at constant confining stress of 10 MPa. Conversely, the CO2 permeability reduces by a factor of two under similar conditions. A second core is split with a fine saw to create a smooth artificial fracture and the permeabilities are measured for both nonpropped and propped fractures. The He permeability of a propped artificial fracture is approximately 2- to 3fold that of the nonpropped fracture. The He permeability increases with gas pressure under constant confining stress for both nonpropped and propped cases. However, the CO2 permeability of the propped fracture decreases by between one-half to one-third as the gas pressure increases from 1 to 4 MPa at constant confining stress. Interestingly, the CO2 permeability of nonpropped fracture increases with gas pressure at constant confining stress. The permeability evolution of nonpropped and propped artificial fractures in shale is found to be similar to those observed in coals but the extent of permeability reduction by swelling is much lower in shale due to its lower organic content. Optical profilometry is used to quantify the surface roughness. The changes in surface roughness indicate significant influence of proppant indentation on fracture surface in the shale sample. The trends of permeability evolution on injection of CO2 in coals and shales are found analogous; therefore, the permeability evolution models previously developed for coals are adopted to explain the permeability evolution in shales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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