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In order to characterize the stress-dependence of porosity and permeability of Bossier shale, a series of measurements was conducted on three dry, horizontally orientated samples using various gases under controlled stress conditions.

The Klinkenberg-corrected permeability and gas slippage factors varied by more than two orders of magnitude (0.21–86 µD) and by one order of magnitude (0.09–0.89 MPa), respectively. Porosity values measured under in situ stress conditions were lower by up to 30% than those measured at ambient conditions. Therefore, disregarding the stress-dependence of porosity may lead to a substantial overestimation of the free gas storage capacity.

The stress sensitivity of Klinkenberg-corrected permeability coefficients (−0.012–−0.063MPa−1) is much larger than the stress sensitivity of porosity (−0.0014–−0.0033 MPa−1). Particularly for pore systems dominated by microfractures or slit-shaped pores, the permeability is highly sensitive to effective stress changes. While conventional pore models use porosity stress-sensitivity exponents (m) ranging between 3 and 5, we measured values of up to 27. Strongly stress-sensitive permeability behaviour is a result of effective stress preferentially reducing the volume and effective cross-section of transport pathways. In contrast, stress-dependent permeability of a less stress-sensitive sample is instead controlled by the redistribution of flow.

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