Maria Mastalerz
Geological Research at the IGS

Micro-scale chemical and mineralogical heterogeneity of shales and its influence on permeability of the Upper Devonian/Lower Mississippian Bakken Formation in Canada

Status Start Date End Date Locations
completed Aug 1, 2014 Jul 31, 2016 Outside Indiana
Director: Maria Mastalerz
Other Researchers: Arndt Schimmelmann
Funding: Tight Oil Consortium, University of Calgary
Issue: Due to the global increase in consumption and demand for hydrocarbon-based products, an interest in unconventional resources, such as shale gas, has been constantly increasing worldwide. In response to the increased hydrocarbon (both gas and oil) production from shales, recent years have experienced much progress in shale research
Objective: The overall hypothesis to be tested is that the rock fabric and specifically mutual arrangement of organic matter and mineral matter in shales influences porosity and permeability in tight oil/gas reservoirs and that understanding this mineral/organic distribution is critical for prediction of both gas storage and producibility.
Approach: This project will adapt a micro-FTIR technique in combination with the standard reflected light microscopy to map the distribution of organic and mineral components on a micro-scale in the shales of the Bakken Formation in Canada. Our recent study on the New Albany Shale (age equivalent to the Bakken Formation) suggests that connectivity of organic matter may have significant influence on shale permeability. If this is correct, micro-FTIR could become an important tool to predict permeability and, consequently, producibility. This suggestion will be tested on the Bakken Formation samples.
Products: This project is a MS research project of Carley Gasaway and the results will be described in her thesis and related publications.
Benefits: This project will provide better understanding of the factors that influence shale porosity, permeability, and producibility.

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