Taking a Microscopic View of The Shales
E&P Magazine- February 1, 2012
New electron microscopy techniques provide another look at unconventional reservoirs.
This month’s exploration feature is about reservoir characterization, primarily as it relates to shale plays. While operators often don’t have the luxury of studying their shale acreage up close and personal, reservoir characterization can help answer many of the questions that plague developers of these unconventional resources.
One of the key issues with shale is its mineralogical composition. Hydrocarbon molecules aren’t simply sitting in pore spaces in the shale. Often they’re actually connected to the organic content, such as kerogen, making them even more challenging to produce. Understanding these shales at the molecular and even nanometer scale could help operators determine better ways to release the oil and gas.
A company called McCrone Associates Inc. has the tools and technology to provide that analysis. According to Craig Schwandt, a geologist with McCrone, his company has access to tools that few oil companies possess.