Collaborative projects

Collaborative projects between UoN and BGS related to geochemistry and the subsurface.

Unconventional Shale Gas

Dr Clement Uguna

The recent interest in shale gas exploration has led to increased research in order to understand gas generation and retention in shale gas reservoirs. Although the amount of research has vastly increased during the past decade, the mechanism of shale gas generation and how it is retained within shale systems is not properly understood. The Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (British Geological Survey) in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering (University of Nottingham) is currently using high water pressure closed system pyrolysis technique that closely simulates subsurface geological conditions, to replicate shale gas generation as a function of temperature and pressure over geological time scales. Using this technique the composition of hydrocarbon gases generated during the pyrolysis experiments can be determined, and the actual amounts of methane and other hydrocarbon gases generated measured at different levels of thermal maturity through to the dry gas window. The samples currently being investigated are pre-oil window maturity, oil window maturity and high maturity bore hole core samples from the UK Bowland shale unit. In addition to high water pressure pyrolysis the experimentally matured cores will be compared to natural high maturity cores using analytical techniques such as vitrinite reflectance measurement (to assess thermal maturity), Rock Eval pyrolysis (to determine hydrocarbon generative potential), BET surface area measurement (to characterise rock pore volume), and high pressure methane adsorption isotherms (to determine the amount of gas that can be stored on the rock pores to ascertain the gas storage capacity of shale rocks). This research will improve the UK shale gas resource assessment and further improve our understanding of the mechanism of shale gas formation and how it is stored within shale rocks. Our research team comprises Dr Clement Uguna and Dr Christopher Vane (BGS), Prof. Colin Snape and Dr William Meredith (UoN), and Dr Andrew D. Carr (Advanced Geochemical Systems Ltd).