Modeling the elastic properties of organic shale has been of long-standing interest for source rocks and unconventional reservoir characterization. Organic shales exhibit significant variabilities in rock texture and reservoir properties at different maturity stages, subsequently affecting their elastic responses. We have developed a new rock-physics modeling scheme honoring the maturity levels (immature, mature, and overmature), which are constrained by the evolution of the physical properties of organic shale upon kerogen maturation. In particular, at different maturity stages, the manners in which the compliant organic materials interact with the inorganic mineral matrix are characterized by different effective medium theories. On the basis of the developed rock-physics templates, organic shales have different elastic behaviors at different maturity stages. Ignoring the impact of kerogen maturation is insufficient to adequately characterize the elasticity of the whole organic shale system. Modeling results suggest that the elastic responses of organic shale are sensitive to two dominant factors — organic matter content and mineralogical composition. The elastic anisotropy characteristics are not only affected by the kerogen content and clay alignment but also depend on the morphology of kerogen distribution. Our results compare satisfactorily with data from ultrasonic velocity and log measurements, confirming validity and applicability of our modeling framework.

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