Shale Gas Studies
|August 19, 2012||Filled under Com II||
Shale gas currently is a hot topic among exploration activities in USA, Poland, Australia, and other countries; however, shale gas explorationists are facing tremendous challenges:
- Despite its geographic abundance and enormous production potential, gas shale presents a number of challenges – ranging from the lack of an agreed-upon definition of what, exactly, comprises shale to uncertainties in thermal maturity assessment including minimum and maximum limits for gas generation and an optimum range for gas generation.
- Reliable interpretations of thermal maturity indicators provide critical data needed for resource estimates in thermogenic shale gas reservoirs. As noted by Jarvie et al. (2011), an understanding of gas preservation and reservoir alteration at high maturity remains poorly understood by industry and scientists alike.
- The terminology is confused; there is no common definition for the term ‘shale gas’; there is an absence of uniform guidelines; individual classifications used by industry are inconsistent. A more consistent definition of ‘shale gas’ would require a thoughtful effort at consensus within the sedimentary, petroleum geology, and organic petrology community.
- There is also inconsistent terminology used by industry to describe organic and inorganic components in ‘shale gas’.
- Regular updates presented at the ICCP meetings and disseminated through the ICCP website and ICCP Newsletter.
- ICCP Shale Gas Handbook.
- Results of a Round Robin Exercise on calibration of various thermal maturation indicators in a vertical sequence over a wide range of maturity.
As announced in ICCP News No 51, a new working group on Shale Gas Studies was established within Commission II at the ICCP Meeting in Belgrade in 2010. The objectives of the working group are:
- To monitor and provide updates relating to organic petrology applications in shale gas exploration and development, and;
- To deliver a Shale Gas Handbook with the aim to establish uniform terminologies, and drawing on the organic petrology expertise of the ICCP members, to provide guidelines for the use and limitations of various thermal indices in the assessment of thermal maturity of shale gas reservoirs, and origin of hydrocarbons in these rocks. Questions about thermal maturity, organic matter content and shale composition have become increasingly important to geologists working the new shale-gas plays.
- Conduct a Round Robin exercise to calibrate various thermal indicators and investigate factors controlling thermal maturity assessment in a vertical section.
As discussed at the 64th ICCP meeting in Beijing, China, 2012-2013 activities of the Shale Gas Studies WG will include:
- Complete editorial group for ICCP Shale Gas Handbook:
- Table of Contents to be circulated to the working group members and convenors of relevant ICCP Working Groups (such as Identification of Primary Vitrinite, Concentration of Organic Matter, Thermal Indices, and others).
- Literature review – ongoing and updated on a regular basis:
- A substantial bibliography already was donated to the working group by Brian Cardott (USA).
- Identify (priority) issues and problems as related to coal and organic petrology.
- Obtain samples for Round Robin exercise (in progress).
Interested persons should contact Dr Lila W. Gurba at L.Gurba@unsw.edu.au to work on aspects of the Handbook chapters as per their expertise and interest.
At the 63rd ICCP meeting in Porto in 2011, a preliminary structure and Table of Contents for the Organic Petrology Shale Gas Handbook was presented by the Convenor (ICCP News 54).
Jarvie, D., T. Hantschel, T., Wygrala, B.P., 2011. Geochemistry, maturation, and petroleum system modelling related to shale gas resource evaluation. Society for Organic Petrology Short Course Notes, Halifax, NS, Canada, July 31, 2011, unpaginated.
- Timetable of the Shale Fas Studies WG