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Effect of organic-matter type and thermal maturity on methane adsorption in shale-gas systems

January 1, 2012

A series of methane (CH4) adsorption experiments on bulk organic rich shales and their isolated kerogens were conducted at 35 °C, 50 °C and 65 °C and CH4 pressure of up to 15 MPa under dry conditions. Samples from the Eocene Green River Formation, Devonian–Mississippian Woodford Shale and Upper Cretaceous Cameo coal were studied to examine how differences in organic matter type affect natural gas adsorption. Vitrinite reflectance values of these samples ranged from 0.56–0.58 %Ro. In addition, thermal maturity effects were determined on three Mississippian Barnett Shale samples with measured vitrinite reflectance values of 0.58, 0.81 and 2.01 %Ro.

For all bulk and isolated kerogen samples, the total amount of methane adsorbed was directly proportional to the total organic carbon (TOC) content of the sample and the average maximum amount of gas sorption was 1.36 mmol of methane per gram of TOC. These results indicate that sorption on organic matter plays a critical role in shale-gas storage. Under the experimental conditions, differences in thermal maturity showed no significant effect on the total amount of gas sorbed. Experimental sorption isotherms could be fitted with good accuracy by the Langmuir function by adjusting the Langmuir pressure (PL) and maximum sorption capacity (Γmax). The lowest maturity sample (%Ro = 0.56) displayed a Langmuir pressure (PL) of 5.15 MPa, significantly larger than the 2.33 MPa observed for the highest maturity (%Ro > 2.01) sample at 50 °C.

The value of the Langmuir pressure (PL) changes with kerogen type in the following sequence: type I > type II > type III. The thermodynamic parameters of CH4 adsorption on organic rich shales were determined based on the experimental CH4 isotherms. For the adsorption of CH4 on organic rich shales and their isolated kerogen, the heat of adsorption (q) and the standard entropy (Δs0) range from 7.3–28.0 kJ/mol and from −36.2 to −92.2 J/mol/K, respectively.

Publication Year 2012
Title Effect of organic-matter type and thermal maturity on methane adsorption in shale-gas systems
DOI 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.03.012
Authors Tongwei Zhang, Geoffrey S. Ellis, Stephen C. Ruppel, Kitty Milliken, Rongsheng Yang
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Organic Geochemistry
Index ID 70112478
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Energy Resources Science Center