A Transversely Isotropic Thermo-mechanical Framework for Oil Shale

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Shabnam J Semnani1, Joshua A White2 and Ronaldo I Borja1, (1)Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States, (2)Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, United States
The present study provides a thermo-mechanical framework for modeling the temperature dependent behavior of oil shale. As a result of heating, oil shale undergoes phase transformations, during which organic matter is converted to petroleum products, e.g. light oil, heavy oil, bitumen, and coke. The change in the constituents and microstructure of shale at high temperatures dramatically alters its mechanical behavior e.g. plastic deformations and strength, as demonstrated by triaxial tests conducted at multiple temperatures [1,2]. Accordingly, the present model formulates the effects of changes in the chemical constituents due to thermal loading. It is well known that due to the layered structure of shale its mechanical properties in the direction parallel to the bedding planes is significantly different from its properties in the perpendicular direction. Although isotropic models simplify the modeling process, they fail to accurately describe the mechanical behavior of these rocks. Therefore, many researchers have studied the anisotropic behavior of rocks, including shale [3]. The current study presents a framework to incorporate the effects of transverse isotropy within a thermo-mechanical formulation. The proposed constitutive model can be readily applied to existing finite element codes to predict the behavior of oil shale in applications such as in-situ retorting process and stability assessment in petroleum reservoirs.

[1] Masri, M. et al."Experimental Study of the Thermomechanical Behavior of the Petroleum Reservoir." SPE Eastern Regional/AAPG Eastern Section Joint Meeting. Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2008.

[2] Xu, B. et al. "Thermal impact on shale deformation/failure behaviors---laboratory studies." 45th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium. American Rock Mechanics Association, 2011.

[3] Crook, AJL et al. "Development of an orthotropic 3D elastoplastic material model for shale." SPE/ISRM Rock Mechanics Conference. Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2002.