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Relationships between lineal fracture intensity and chemical composition in the Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin

Keithan G. Martin, Liaosha Song, Payam Kavousi and Timothy R. Carr
Relationships between lineal fracture intensity and chemical composition in the Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin
Interpretation (Tulsa) (November 2019) 7 (4): SJ33-SJ43


Within mudrock reservoirs, brittle zones undergo failure during hydraulic stimulation, creating numerous artificial fractures which enable hydrocarbons to be liberated from the reservoir. Natural fractures in mudrock reduce the tensile strength of the host rock, creating planes of weaknesses that are hypothesized to be reactivated during hydraulic stimulation. Combined, brittleness and natural fractures contribute to creating more abundant and complex fracture networks during hydraulic stimulation. Research efforts toward quantifying rock brittleness have resulted in numerous mineral-/compositional-based indices, which are used during petrophysical analysis to predict zones most conducive to hydraulic stimulation. In contrast, investigations on the relationship between chemical composition and core-scale natural fractures are limited. For this study, we collected high-resolution energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (XRF) data, calibrated with a wave-dispersive XRF, from a Marcellus Shale core. Additionally, we characterized corescale natural fractures in terms of length, width, in-filling material or lack thereof, and orientation. Following the characterization, we transformed the natural fracture data into a continuous P10 (lineal fracture intensity) curve, expressed as the number of fractures per a one-half foot window. Using these data sets, we investigated the relationship between rock composition and natural fracture intensity. Regression analyses recorded positive relationships between natural fracture intensity and calcium, silicon/aluminum, and total organic carbon (TOC), and negative relationships with silicon and aluminum. Aluminum recorded the strongest (negative) relationship (r (super 2) =0.379) with natural fracture intensity. To access the degree to which natural fractures can be predicted based on chemical composition, we applied a partial least-squares analysis, a multivariate method, and recorded an r (super 2) =0.56. Our study illustrates that although numerous factors are responsible for natural fracture genesis, such fractures predictively concentrate in areas of similar chemical composition, largely in zones with low aluminum concentrations.

ISSN: 2324-8858
EISSN: 2324-8866
Serial Title: Interpretation (Tulsa)
Serial Volume: 7
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Relationships between lineal fracture intensity and chemical composition in the Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin
Affiliation: West Virginia University, Department of Geology and Geography, Morgantown, WV, United States
Pages: SJ33-SJ43
Published: 201911
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 45
Accession Number: 2020-011788
Categories: Economic geology, geology of energy sourcesSedimentary petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Part of a special section on Petrophysical analysis for shale reservoir evaluation, edited by Jiang, S.
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. cols., sketch map
N37°15'00" - N40°40'00", W82°30'00" - W77°45'00"
Secondary Affiliation: California State University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 202009
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