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The Permeability of Shale Exposed to Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

By: Di Wu, Wenbo Zhai, Xueying Liu, Xiaochun Xiao, Jun Xu, Nan Jia, Feng Miao (April 25, 2023)

The Permeability of Shale Exposed to Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

The impact of supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) on shale gas reservoir permeability is at the heart of this study. Permeability, a pivotal factor in tight reservoir rocks, dictates the fluid flow and overall yield from these reservoirs, and in turn, determines their commercial viability. Utilizing SC-CO2 in shale gas extraction not only augments the efficiency of fracturing but also provides a dual advantage in the form of potential geological CO2 storage.

An intriguing observation made was that the relationship between permeability and gas pressure did not follow a straightforward trajectory. Instead, a segmented trend was noticed, particularly pronounced near the supercritical state. Subsequent investigations involving shale specimens immersed in SC-CO2 revealed a marked increase in permeability post-treatment, linearly dependent on SC-CO2 pressure. Furthermore, advanced techniques, such as X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), highlighted that SC-CO2 initiates complex chemical interactions with shale minerals, thereby enhancing permeability by broadening the gas seepage pathways.

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