Comprehensive Review about Methane Adsorption in Shale Nanoporous Media

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  • Shale/tight gas plays an increasingly important role to meet the growing global energy demand and reduce carbon emissions. Unlike conventional reservoirs, shale formations are subject to rock heterogeneity and have pore size distributions ranging from sub-1 nm to a few micrometers. Thanks to the large number of nanosized pores, adsorbed methane capacity plays a dominant role in total shale gas-in-place. Methane adsorption behaviors can vary drastically in micropores and mesopores, and rock surface type may also greatly affect its adsorption. In this review, we provide a systematic discussion on measurements of shale rock properties including rock compositions and pore structures such as specific surface area (SSA) and pore size distribution (PSD), which are important parameters for methane adsorption in shale nanoporous media. We also provide in-depth discussions on experimental measurements on methane (excess) adsorption in shale nanoporous media, methane adsorption behavior characterization based on molecular simulations, and various excess-adsorption-to-absolute-adsorption conversion methods. We pay particular attention to the assumptions and working mechanisms proposed in various interpretation methods which are embedded in pore structures (SSA and PSD) and absolute adsorption characterizations. In the end, we summarize the key challenges in the methane adsorption characterization in shale media.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International