Artificial maturation methods are used to induce changes in source rock thermal maturity without the uncertainties that arise when comparing natural samples from a particular basin that often represent different levels of maturation and different lithofacies. A novel uniaxial confinement clamp was used on Woodford Shale cores in hydrous pyrolysis experiments to limit sample expansion by simulating the effect of overburden present during thermal maturation in natural systems. These samples were then subjected to X-ray computed tomography (X-CT) imaging and low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (LF-NMR) relaxometry measurements. LF-NMR relaxometry is a noninvasive technique commonly used to measure porosity and pore-size distributions in fluid-filled porous media, but may also measure hydrogen present in hydrogen-bearing organic solids. Standard T1 and T2 relaxation distributions were determined and two dimensional T1-T2 correlation measurements were performed on the Woodford Shale cores. The T1-T2 correlations facilitate resolution of organic phases in the system. The changes observed in NMR-relaxation times correspond to bitumen and lighter hydrocarbon production that occur as source rock organic matter matures. The LF-NMR porosities of the core samples at maximum oil generation are significantly higher than porosities measured by other methods. This discrepancy likely arises from the measurement of highly viscous organic constituents in addition to fluid-filled porosity. An unconfined sample showed shorter relaxation times and lower porosity. This difference is attributed to the lack of fractures observed in the unconfined sample by X-CT.
Additional Publication Details
Changes in porosity and organic matter phase distribution monitored by NMR relaxometry following hydrous pyrolysis under uniaxial confinement
Society of Exploration Geophysicists, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Society of Petroleum Engineers