A Review of Gas Injection in Shale Reservoirs: Enhanced Oil/Gas Recovery Approaches and Greenhouse Gas Control
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Shale oil and gas resources contribute significantly to the energy production in the U.S. Greenhouse gas emissions come from combustion of fossil fuels from potential sources of power plants, oil refineries, and flaring or venting of produced gas (primarily methane) in oilfields. Economic utilization of greenhouse gases in shale reservoirs not only increases oil or gas recovery, but also contributes to CO2 sequestration. In this paper, the feasibility and efficiency of gas injection approaches, including huff-n-puff injection and gas flooding in shale oil/gas/condensate reservoirs are discussed based on the results of in-situ pilots, and experimental and simulation studies. In each section, one type of shale reservoir is discussed, with the following aspects covered: (1) Experimental and simulation results for different gas injection approaches; (2) mechanisms of different gas injection approaches; and (3) field pilots for gas injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and enhanced gas recovery (EGR). Based on the experimental and simulation studies, as well as some successful field trials, gas injection is deemed as a potential approach for EOR and EGR in shale reservoirs. The enhanced recovery factor varies for different experiments with different rock/fluid properties or models incorporating different effects and shale complexities. Based on the simulation studies and successful field pilots, CO2 could be successfully captured in shale gas reservoirs through gas injection and huff-n-puff regimes. The status of flaring gas emissions in oilfields and the outlook of economic utilization of greenhouse gases for enhanced oil or gas recovery and CO2 storage were given in the last section. The storage capacity varies in different simulation studies and is associated with well design, gas injection scheme and operation parameters, gas adsorption, molecular diffusion, and the modelling approaches.