Towards Characterization, Modeling, and Uncertainty Quantification in Multi-scale Mechanics of Oragnic-rich Shales

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Sara Abedi, Texas A & M University College Station, College Station, TX, United States
Increasing the efficiency and sustainability in operation of hydrocarbon recovery from organic-rich shales requires a fundamental understanding of chemomechanical properties of organic-rich shales. This understanding is manifested in form of physics-bases predictive models capable of capturing highly heterogeneous and multi-scale structure of organic-rich shale materials. In this work we present a framework of experimental characterization, micromechanical modeling, and uncertainty quantification that spans from nanoscale to macroscale. Application of experiments such as coupled grid nano-indentation and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and micromechanical modeling attributing the role of organic maturity to the texture of the material, allow us to identify unique clay mechanical properties among different samples that are independent of maturity of shale formations and total organic content. The results can then be used to inform the physically-based multiscale model for organic rich shales consisting of three levels that spans from the scale of elementary building blocks (e.g. clay minerals in clay-dominated formations) of organic rich shales to the scale of the macroscopic inorganic/organic hard/soft inclusion composite. Although this approach is powerful in capturing the effective properties of organic-rich shale in an average sense, it does not account for the uncertainty in compositional and mechanical model parameters. Thus, we take this model one step forward by systematically incorporating the main sources of uncertainty in modeling multiscale behavior of organic-rich shales. In particular we account for the uncertainty in main model parameters at different scales such as porosity, elastic properties and mineralogy mass percent. To that end, we use Maximum Entropy Principle and random matrix theory to construct probabilistic descriptions of model inputs based on available information. The Monte Carlo simulation is then carried out to propagate the uncertainty and consequently construct probabilistic descriptions of properties at multiple length-scales. The combination of experimental characterization and stochastic multi-scale modeling presented in this work improves the robustness in the prediction of essential subsurface parameters in engineering scale.