NMC Scientist Rex P. Hjelm Publishes Work in International Journal of Coal Geology
Rex P. Hjelm, a New Mexico Consortium scientist, recently published his work “Probing oil recovery in shale nanopores with small-angle and ultra-small-angle neutron scattering” in the International Journal of Coal Geology.
Due to growing energy demands, it is critical to increase oil production from unconventional shale reservoirs which will also achieve lower carbon emission than conventional crude oil
Currently, it is proposed that we use enhanced oil recovery (EOR) which will improve the rates of hydrocarbon recovery. EOR involves the injection of a fluid into the reservoir to facilitate residual oil being released from the shale formation. In order to carry out EOR in a way that is economical and sustainable, it is important to have advanced knowledge of fluid behavior in nano-sized pore spaces in the shale.
In this study, Hjelm and colleagues use small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and ultra-small-angle neutron scattering (USANS) as experimental probes to study the removal of hydrocarbon from a shale nano- to micro-porous matrix, using methane as the injectant.
The scientists look at the extent of hydrocarbon saturation and recovery post-methane pressurization in both clay-rich and carbonate-rich shale.
What did they find? Their promising results show the ability of SANS and USANS to provide key insights into oil recovery from nano- to micron-sized pores in shale matrices. Combined with effects of various fractures on fluid behavior in shale, this experimental technique can be used to assess the viability of EOR injectants.
To read the entire publication see: “Probing oil recovery in shale nanopores with small-angle and ultra-small-angle neutron scattering“