Effects of Moisture and Salinity on Methane Adsorption in Kerogen: A Molecular Simulation Study

J Zhou and Q Mao and KH Luo, ENERGY & FUELS, 33, 5368-5376 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.9b00392

The adsorption characteristics of methane in shales play a critical role in the assessment of shale gas resources. The microscopic adsorption mechanism of methane considering the effect of moisture and especially salinity remains to be explored. In this work, combined molecular dynamics and grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations are conducted to investigate the adsorption behaviors of methane in the realistic kerogen matrixes containing different moisture contents (0-6 wt %) and various salinities (0-6 mol/L NaCl). Adsorption processes are simulated under realistic reservoir conditions at four temperatures in the range from 298.15 to 358.15 K and pressures up to 40 MPa. Effects of the moisture content on methane adsorption capacities are analyzed in detail. Simulation results show that the methane adsorption capacity declines as the moisture content increases. In comparison to the dry kerogen matrix, the reduction in the maximum CH4 adsorption capacity is as high as 42.5% in moist kerogen, with a moisture content of 6.0 wt % at 338.15 K. The overlap observed in the density distributions of water molecules and decrease in adsorbed methane indicates that the water molecules occupy the adsorption sites and, thus, lead to the reduction in methane adsorption capacity. Besides, the effects of salinity on CH4 adsorption isotherms are discussed. The salinity is found to have a negative influence on the methane adsorption capacity. The maximum CH4 adsorption capacity reduces around 6.0% under the salinity of 6 mol/L at 338.15 K. Adsorption of methane in kerogens of constant salinity but different moisture contents are further discussed. Results from the present study show that the moisture content has a greater impact on the adsorption of methane compared to that of salinity. The findings of this study have important implications for more accurate estimation of shale gas in place.

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