A Numerical Study of Microscale Flow Behavior in Tight Gas and Shale Gas Reservoir Systems Conference Paper uri icon


  • Various attempts have been made to model flow in shale gas systems. However, there is currently little consensus regarding the impact of molecular and Knudsen diffusion on flow behavior over time in such systems. Direct measurement or model-based estimation of matrix permeability for these "ultra-tight" reservoirs has proven unreliable. The composition of gas produced from tight gas and shale gas reservoirs varies with time for a variety of reasons. The cause of flowing gas compositional change typically cited is selective desorption of gases from the surface of the kerogen in the case of shale. However, other drivers for gas fractionation are important when pore throat dimensions are small enough. Pore throat diameters on the order of molecular mean free path lengths will create non-Darcy flow conditions, where permeability becomes a strong function of pressure. At the low permeabilities found in shale gas systems, the dusty-gas model for flow should be used, which couples diffusion to advective flow. In this study we implement the dusty-gas model into a fluid flow modeling tool based on the TOUGH+ family of codes. We examine the effects of Knudsen diffusion on gas composition in ultra-tight rock. We show that for very small average pore throat diameters, lighter gases are preferentially produced at concentrations significantly higher than in situ conditions. Furthermore, we illustrate a methodology which uses measurements of gas composition to more uniquely determine the permeability of tight reservoirs. We also describe how gas composition measurement could be used to identify flow boundaries in these reservoir systems. We discuss how new measurement techniques and data collection practices should be implemented in order to take advantage of this method. Our contributions include a new, fit-for-purpose numerical model based on the TOUGH+ code capable of characterizing transport effects including permeability adjustment and diffusion in micro- and nano-scale porous media. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

published proceedings

  • Transport in Porous Media

author list (cited authors)

  • Freeman, C. M., Moridis, G. J., & Blasingame, T. A

complete list of authors

  • Freeman, CM||Moridis, GJ||Blasingame, TA

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM