Microporoelastic Modeling of Organic-Rich Shales

Monday, 15 December 2014
Siavash Khosh Sokhan Monfared, Sara Abedi and Franz Josef Ulm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States
Organic-rich shale is an extremely complex, naturally occurring geo-composite. The heterogeneous nature of organic-rich shale and its anisotropic behavior pose grand challenges for characterization, modeling and engineering design The intricacy of organic-rich shale, in the context of its mechanical and poromechanical properties, originates in the presence of organic/inorganic constituents and their interfaces as well as the occurrence of porosity and elastic anisotropy, at multiple length scales. To capture the contributing mechanisms, of 1st order, responsible for organic-rich shale complex behavior, we introduce an original approach for micromechanical modeling of organic-rich shales which accounts for the effect of maturity of organics on the overall elasticity through morphology considerations. This morphology contribution is captured by means of an effective media theory that bridges the gap between immature and mature systems through the choice of system's microtexture; namely a matrix-inclusion morphology (Mori-Tanaka) for immature systems and a polycrystal/granular morphology for mature systems. Also, we show that interfaces play a role on the effective elasticity of mature, organic-rich shales. The models are calibrated by means of ultrasonic pulse velocity measurements of elastic properties and validated by means of nanoindentation results. Sensitivity analyses using Spearman's Partial Rank Correlation Coefficient shows the importance of porosity and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) as key input parameters for accurate model predictions. These modeling developments pave the way to reach a "unique" set of clay properties and highlight the importance of depositional environment, burial and diagenetic processes on overall mechanical and poromechanical behavior of organic-rich shale. These developments also emphasize the importance of understanding and modeling clay elasticity and organic maturity on the overall rock behavior which is of critical importance for a practical rock physics model that accounts for time dependent phenomena which can be employed for seismic inversion.