The pore structure of mudrocks is a key characteristic to evaluate flow behavior through these rocks. Although significant advances have been made to resolve pore characteristics, porosity evolution, or pore connectivity, there is still insufficient knowledge linking porosity evolution to flow and transport in mudrocks. To better understand these links, we conducted very small-angle (VSANS) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments on 13 sets of mudrocks from global locations, characterized by differences in composition, maturity, and depositional environment. Our results indicate that a homogeneous pore structure reflects a stable and low-energy depositional environment. Organic-lean mudrocks mainly contain pores <10 nm, which restricts flow and is beneficial for, e.g., caprock seal integrity. Increasing maturity as a result of increasing burial depth, and therefore, temperature leads to porosity evolution. In organic-rich mudrocks (ORMs), this happens through the generation of organic matter pores and pore preservation around diagenetically formed carbonates. ORMs mainly contain macropores (>50 nm), favoring production from, e.g., unconventional reservoirs. SANS-derived pore size distributions will help to better understand fluid imbibition and flow properties in mudrocks through comprehensive quantitative characterization of the nano- to micron scale pore network conduits and their relationships to burial diagenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Fuel Technology
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology