Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-140
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-140

  22 Nov 2021

22 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Matrix gas flow through ‘impermeable’ rocks – shales and tight sandstone

Ernest Henry Rutter1, Julian Mecklenburgh1, and Yusuf Bashir1,a Ernest Henry Rutter et al.
  • 1Rock Deformation Laboratory, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  • anow at: Department of Petroleum Resources, Abuja, Nigeria

Abstract. The effective pressure sensitivity of gas flow through two shales (Bowland and Haynesville shales) and a tight gas sandstone (Pennant sandstone) was measured over the typical range of reservoir pressure conditions. These are low permeability rocks such as can be exploited as caprocks above reservoirs that might be developed to store compressed air, methane, hydrogen or to bury waste carbon dioxide, all of which may become important components of the forthcoming major changes in methods of energy generation and storage. Knowledge of the petrophysical properties of such tight rocks will be of great importance in such developments. All three rocks display only a small range in log10 permeability at low pressures, but these decrease at dramatically different rates with increasing effective pressure, and the rate of decrease itself decreases with pressure, as the rocks stiffen. The pressure sensitivity of the bulk moduli of each of these rocks was also measured, and used to formulate a description of the permeability decrease in terms of the progressive closure of narrow, crack-like pores with increasing pressure. In the case of the shales in particular, only a very small proportion of the total porosity takes part in the flow of gases, particularly along the bedding layering.

Ernest Henry Rutter et al.

Status: open (until 05 Jan 2022)

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Ernest Henry Rutter et al.

Data sets

Supplementary datafile DF1.csv E. Rutter, J. Mecklenburgh and Y. Bashir https://zenodo.org/record/5675601

Ernest Henry Rutter et al.

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Short summary
Underground energy and waste storage require re-purposing of existing oil and gas wells for gas storage; compressed air, hydrogen, methane and CO2 disposal, requiring an impermeable cap rock (e.g. shales) over the porous reservoir. We measured shale permeability over a range of burial pressures and gas pore pressures. Permeability decreases markedly as effective pressure on the rocks is increased. Knowing these relationships is essential to the safe design of engineered gas reservoirs.