Research at RERI: Shale Gas and Shale Oil Reservoirs

Shale gas has drastically changed the game of energy in the United States (see the figure below). Our interest in shale gas and shale light oil reservoirs is currently focused on phase behavior and thermodynamics. The phase behavior work is mainly based on molecular modeling. The focus is on the dual nature of shale permeable media: inorganic and organic. The organic medium is unique to shale and is absent in conventional and even in tight permeable media. Detailed molecular and atomistic modeling coupled with quantum effects are used to predict distribution and orientation of various molecules in shale media. The sketch at the end shows the distribution of CO2 in model clay slit-pores which is currently under investigation.

CO2 molecules in Clay Slit-pores

Jin and Firoozabadi, to be submitted, 2013

The outside phase is in equilibrium with the nano-pore; p=40 bar, T=293 K. Charge has a significant effect on orientation of CO2-adsorbed molecules. Charge has also a pronounced effect on the number of molecules in slit-pore.