Multiscale Digital Rock Analysis for Shale Gas Exploration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The shale gas revolution has made significant impact on energy supply, consumption, and reduction of CO2 emission. In the UK, unconventional gas resources could replace rapidly depleting North Sea reserves and help to build a stronger, greener and more competitive economy. It is important to quantify the gas transport in the ultra-tight porous media typically found in unconventional reservoirs, which can help us to determine the drainage area and life span of the shale formations, and to optimise the production process, e.g. reduced number of drilling wells.
However, the production of unconventional gases poses an unprecedented challenge to reservoir engineers, as they cannot rely on previous experience or methods. Currently, there is no tool for reliably predicting heterogeneity in flow properties at the pore/sub-core scale, even though this is essential for upscaled reservoir simulations, e.g. through the spatial distribution of apparent permeability. Gas flows in ultra-tight pores are not only dense (because of the high pressures) but also, due to the small pore dimensions, thermodynamically non-equilibrium - which means that conventional fluid dynamic models are inapplicable. The engineering research challenge is to create physically realistic models and efficient computational techniques for the transport of gas in shale media, which will in turn enable more reliable reservoir simulations. These developments in fluid dynamics also provide excellent opportunities for state-of-the-art education and training of students and researchers.
The aim of this research project is to develop a unique software package to enable the pore-scale simulation of rarefied gas flows in ultra-tight porous media, and to develop upscale method to quantify flow properties of shale rocks. The key objectives are to:
I. improve and test the in-house high-performance computing code for porous media flows;
II. apply the solver on different types of rock samples;
III. develop upscaling method to enable reservoir simulation.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513349/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2104338 Studentship EP/R513349/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Marwan Eldeem Mohammed