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Abstract

Porosity and pore size distribution (PSD) are required to calculate reservoir quality and volume. Numerous inconsistencies have been reported in measurements of these properties in shales (mudrocks). We investigate these inconsistencies by evaluating the effects of fine grains, small pores, high clay content, swelling clay minerals and pores hosted in organic content. Using mudrocks from the Haynesville, Eastern European Silurian, Niobrara, and Monterey formations, we measured porosity and pore or throat size distribution using subcritical nitrogen (N2) gas adsorption at 77.3 K, mercury intrusion, water immersion, and helium porosimetry based on Gas Research Institute standard methodology. We used scanning electron microscope (SEM) images to understand the pore structure at a microscopic scale. We separated the samples from each formation into groups based on their clay and total organic carbon (TOC) contents and further investigated the effects of geochemical and mineralogical variations on porosity and PSD. We find that differences in the porosity and PSD measurement techniques can be explained with thermal maturity, texture, and mineralogy, specifically clay content and type and TOC variations. We find that porosity and PSD measurement techniques can provide complementary information within each group provided the comparison is made between methods appropriate for that group. Our intent is to provide a better understanding of the inconsistencies in porosity measurements when different techniques are used.

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