Los Alamos National Laboratory highlights a new hydrocarbon study in their online Science News report that reports new methods for improving natural gas production in shale. This study titled Reduced methane recovery at high pressure due to methane trapping in shale nanopores, has been published in Nature’s new Communications Earth & Environment journal.
Most of the natural gas in the U.S. is hidden deep in the ground within shale reservoirs. Due to the low porosity and permeability of shale, recovering natural gas can be challenging. Current unconventional hydrocarbon gas recovery rates are only around 20%. This study has revealed a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying hydrocarbon retention within the nanoporous shale matrix.
The research team integrated molecular dynamics simulations with novel in situ high-pressure small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to examine methane behavior. They have found that while high pressures are useful when recovering methane from larger pores, dense gas becomes trapped in smaller, common shale nanopores due to kerogen deformation. Their study has found that using a different pressure range significantly impacts methane recovery in these areas.
This research was led by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Partners include the New Mexico Consortium, University of Maryland, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research
Read the entire LANL Science News article at: How to improve natural gas production in shale.
Photo from Stock Photo.
Article by Carrie Talus.