Effect of the presence of organic matter on bubble points of oils in shales

Research paper by Manas Pathak, Palash Panja, Raymond Levey, Milind Deo

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 24 Jan '17Published in: AIChE Journal


The relative amounts of oil and gas produced in prolific plays like the Eagle Ford are affected by the oil bubble point. The oil and kerogen (organic matter) are found in the same rock and the oil may remain in contact with the kerogen. Bulk experiments and molecular simulations clearly show that kerogen preferentially absorbs hydrocarbons. The absorbed oil phase remains in multi-component equilibrium with the expelled oil produced at the surface. Results from a model proposed to calculate the bubble points (at 400 K) of in situ oils (absorbed + free) in the presence of kerogen indicate suppression of about 4150–16,350 kPa from the original value of 28,025 kPa of produced Eagle Ford oil. These calculations depend on the type and level of maturity of kerogen. The prediction of accurate saturation pressures has key implications on volumes of recovery and rates of production from liquid rich shales. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2017