ABSTRACT

Shale samples of the Marcellus Shale from a well drilled in northeastern Pennsylvania were used to study diagenetic effects on the mineral and organic matter and their impact on petrophysical response. We analyzed an interval of high gamma ray and anomalously low electrical resistivity from a high thermal maturity (mean maximum vitrinite reflectance > 4%) part of the shale‐gas play. A suite of microanalytical techniques was used to study features of the shale down to the nanoscale and assess the level of thermal alteration of the mineral and organic phases.

The samples are organic rich, with total organic carbon contents of 3–7 wt. %; the vast majority of the organic matter was identified as highly porous pyrobitumen. Matrix porosity is also present, especially within the clay aggregates and at the interface between rigid clasts and clay minerals.

Mineral- and organic-based thermal maturity indices suggest that during burial the sediment had been exposed to temperatures as high as 285°C (545°F). Under these conditions, the residual, migrated organic matter assumed a partially crystalline habit as confirmed by the identification of turbostratic structures via electron microscopy imaging. Experimental dielectric measurements on organic matter–rich samples confirm that the anomalous electrical properties observed in the wire-line logs can be ascribed to the presence of an electrically conductive interconnected network of partially graphitized organic matter. The preservation of porosity suggests that this organic network can contribute not only to the electrical properties but also to the gas flow properties within the Marcellus Shale.

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