Unconventional Reservoirs

Sensitivity studies of shale gas petrophysical models

Shale gas petrophysics uses deterministic and/or probabilistic modelling to
improve estimates of gas in place. Our aims are to investigate complexity
and uncertainty in petrophysical modelling, to identify critical parameters,
and to test the sensitivity of different petrophysical models. The research
is a pilot project supported by industry and government (Natural
Environment Research Council, UK).

Results will constrain and improve estimates of gas in place and identify
best practice, enabling development of guides for specialist geoscientists,
engineers and petrophysicists, as well as non-specialists such as policy

Shale fracking & hydrocarbon yields

Organic rich shales may generate economically significant quantities of gas and oil hydrocarbons. Our joint work with the British Geological Survey (BGS) explores the chemistry and physics of gas release during hydraulic and pervasive fracking of shales.

Our innovative research looks at the relationship of hydrocarbon release and rate to shale composition and type of organic matter coupled with potential for optimisation (energy) of the fracking process. This novel application of non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) fingerprint techniques is being used to help identify and predict gas recovery yield and to assess any atmospheric impact.

Minimising technologically-induced hazards: Laboratory investigation of induced seismicity

In hydraulic fracturing, dynamic ruptures are preceded by slow deformation mechanisms; fractures extend by growth and coalescence of smaller cracks. The influence of effective stress, temperature and pore fluid pressure on creep and failure is significant.

Our research aims to investigate the ‘creeping’-induced seismicity before dynamic failure and determine the dominant mechanism of deformation leading to failure. Moreover, how the transition from one mechanism to another occurs. In particular we are interested in monitoring these effects to determine specific geophysical signatures related to these mechanisms and the levels at which they can be detected.

Our approach involves laboratory-based rock deformation experiments, where we examine the relationships between microseismic output and deformation backed up with integrated numerical modelling to assess critical damage thresholds that trigger failure. Results determine failure precursors and enable mitigation of environmental hazards induced through hydraulic fracturing.

Sedimentological controls on organic matter preservation

Mudstones play a significant role in petroleum systems as source rocks and, in unconventional plays, as reservoirs. Our research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), investigates sedimentological processes that control variability in mudstones/shales and is focused on the UK’s Mississippian Bowland Shale Formation.

Understanding sedimentological processes is fundamental for unraveling how the type and abundance of organic matter relate to, and are influenced by, delivery mechanisms within sedimentary basins.

Our methodology combines detailed sedimentology, petrography and geochemistry. We aim to develop predictive models that will identify critical intervals in exploration wells.

Petrophysics uncovered: P.UNC

Petrophysics is a complex science that requires an understanding of a broad range of concepts from geoscience to physics and engineering. Yet there is no consistent petrophysical vocabulary and often a poor level of understanding of petrophysical terms and concepts. This makes it difficult for professionals to communicate with each other, to understand the petrophysical challenges, and to fully evaluate a solution with confidence.

Petrophysics Uncovered, or P.UNC aims to embed a petrophysical vocabulary within the petroleum geoscience community, and to move towards a virtual learning platform using notepads and smart phones.

Funded by NERC, our pilot project evaluates different ways of presenting information, enabling the user to interact with the content and control the direction and depth of investigation. We now wish to develop this further to enable individuals and companies involved in conventional or unconventional reservoirs to communicate better.

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To find out how our academics can work with your business please contact:

William Wells
Business Development Manager
07810 658 729