High-pressure methane sorption isotherms were performed on a series of Upper Ordovician Wufeng and Lower Silurian Longmaxi shale samples in the Fuling shale gas field to investigate the effects of organic matter content, thermal maturity, clay minerals, pore structure, temperature and pressure on methane sorption capacity. A large number of micropores with a pore width of less than 10 nm are developed within the organic matter, with its abundant specific surface areas as the fundamental factor to enhance the methane sorption capacity. The total organic carbon (TOC)-normalized sorption capacity increases with an increasing equivalent vitrinite reflectance Ro, but an opposite trend is observed when Ro is in the highly over-mature stage. The TOC-normalized sorption capacity shows no correlation with the total clay content as well as individual clay minerals. Most of the excess sorption capacity of shales increases with an increasing pressure, exhibits a maxima in the pressure range of 15–17 MPa and then decreases. The sorption isotherms show an obvious decrease in excess sorption capacity with increasing temperature. Moreover, the Langmuir pressure exponentially decreases with the reciprocal of temperature. Based on the Langmuir adsorption model, an empirical formula is established to evaluate the absolute sorption capacity of shales as a function of TOC content, pressure and temperature.

Supplementary material: Additional description of experimental data are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3714040.v2

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