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Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 20;10(1):3659. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11653-4.

Shale gas reserve evaluation by laboratory pyrolysis and gas holding capacity consistent with field data.

Author information

1
University of Nottingham, Faculty of Engineering, Energy Technologies Building, Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG7 2TU, UK.
2
British Geological Survey, Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK.
3
University of Nottingham, Faculty of Engineering, Energy Technologies Building, Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG7 2TU, UK. colin.snape@nottingham.ac.uk.
4
British Geological Survey, Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK. colin.snape@nottingham.ac.uk.
5
Advanced Geochemical Systems Ltd., 1 Towles Fields, Burton-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire, LE12 5TD, UK.

Abstract

Exploration for shale gas occurs in onshore basins, with two approaches used to predict the maximum gas in place (GIP) in the absence of production data. The first estimates adsorbed plus free gas held within pore space, and the second measures gas yields from laboratory pyrolysis experiments on core samples. Here we show the use of sequential high-pressure water pyrolysis (HPWP) to replicate petroleum generation and expulsion in uplifted onshore basins. Compared to anhydrous pyrolysis where oil expulsion is limited, gas yields are much lower, and the gas at high maturity is dry, consistent with actual shales. Gas yields from HPWP of UK Bowland Shales are comparable with those from degassed cores, with the ca. 1% porosity sufficient to accommodate the gas generated. Extrapolating our findings to the whole Bowland Shale, the maximum GIP equate to potentially economically recoverable reserves of less than 10 years of current UK gas consumption.

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