|Impact of Nanoporosity on Hydrocarbon Transport in Shales’ Organic Matter
|Year of Publication
|Obliger A, Ulm F-J, Pellenq RJean-Marc
|832 - 837
|Kerogen; microporosity; diffusion; hydrocarbons; shales
In a context of growing attention for shale gas, the precise impact of organic matter (kerogen) on hydrocarbon recovery from unconventional reservoirs still has to be assessed. Kerogen's microstructure is characterized by a very disordered pore network that greatly affects hydrocarbon transport. The specific structure and texture of this organic matter at the nanoscale is highly dependent on its origin. In this study, by the use of statistical physics and molecular dynamics, we shed some new lights on hydrocarbon transport through realistic molecular models of kerogen at different level of maturity [Bousige et al. Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 576]. Despite the apparent complexity, severe confinement effects controlled by the porosity of the various kerogens allow linear alkanes (from methane to dodecane) transport to be studied only via the self-diffusion coefficients of the species. The decrease of the transport coefficients with the amount of adsorbed fluid can be described by a free volume theory. Ultimately, the transport coefficients of hydrocarbons can be expressed simply as a function of the porosity (volume fraction of void) of the microstructure, thus paving the way for shale gas recovery predictions.