Unconventional petroleum resources, particularly in shales, are expected to play an increasingly important role in the world’s energy portfolio in the coming years. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), particularly at low-field, provides important information in the evaluation of shale resources. Most of the low-field NMR analyses performed on shale samples rely heavily on standard T1 and T2 measurements. We present a new approach using solid echoes in the measurement of T1 and T1–T2 correlations that addresses some of the challenges encountered when making NMR measurements on shale samples compared to conventional reservoir rocks. Combining these techniques with standard T1 and T2 measurements provides a more complete assessment of the hydrogen-bearing constituents (e.g., bitumen, kerogen, clay-bound water) in shale samples. These methods are applied to immature and pyrolyzed oil shale samples to examine the solid and highly viscous organic phases present during the petroleum generation process. The solid echo measurements produce additional signal in the oil shale samples compared to the standard methodologies, indicating the presence of components undergoing homonuclear dipolar coupling. The results presented here include the first low-field NMR measurements performed on kerogen as well as detailed NMR analysis of highly viscous thermally generated bitumen present in pyrolyzed oil shale.
Additional publication details
Updated methodology for nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of shales