Summary

Matrix permeability is a key petrophysical parameter in reservoir evaluation and simulation. However, measurement of this parameter remains problematic for unconventional reservoirs. One of the challenges lies in the influence of fractures. Inclusion of fractures can lead to overestimation of shale matrix permeability. In this paper, new experimental and data–analysis procedures are developed for more–accurate yet relatively fast measurement of shale matrix permeability on the basis of previous work (Peng and Loucks 2016). The influence of fractures on matrix porosity and permeability is quantified and excluded. Reliability and consistency of the measurement results are confirmed through multiple means, including analytical solution back calculation and measurements for similar samples but with different plug diameters. Because the influence of fractures is explicitly excluded in data analysis, the new method is also more flexible regarding sample conditions—even broken plug samples with fractures can be used in this method. This is another advantage of the new method given the difficulty in obtaining “intact” plugs because of the fissility of shale.

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