It is found that in the deepest part of Cooper Basin (Permian section in Nappamerri Trough) in South Australia, two shale formations, Roseneath and Murteree have potential to be shale gas reservoirs. However, a comprehensive petrophysical evaluation has not been carried out so far. The free porosity among minerals, pore throat geometry, surface area and structure of micro pores for adsorption and diffusion of gas in these formations have not been well understood.

Two core samples from two wells (Della 4 and Moomba 46) were selected to evaluate mineralogy, free porosity and other petrophysical characterization. Since routine core analysis is not capable of petrophysical characterization of these very tight rocks, the latest technology of image scanning and processing of QEMSCAN (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals using Scanning Electron Microscopy) and Computerized Tomography (CT) scanning have been used. QEMSCAN is a novel technology to process images from electron microscope to measure size and distribution of different minerals in a rock sample. QEMSCAN when combined with CT scanning can significantly enhance shale rock characterization and reservoir quality assessment. In this study, the main goal is the evaluation of total free porosity, micro pores and natural network of micro-fracture systems in our ultra fine samples.

Based on QEMSCAN analysis, it is found that the sample of Murteree shale has the mineralogy of quartz 42.78%, siderite 6.75%, illite 28.96%, koalinite 14.09%, Total Organic Content (TOC) 1.91 wt%, and pyrite 0.04%, while rutile and other silicates minerals were identified as accessory minerals. Total free porosity is found to be 2 percent. The free porosity is largely associated with clay minerals which shows intergranular linear, isolated and elongated wedge shaped pores. SEM images from the same core sample also show that the pores are mainly present in clay rich zone. QEMSCAN maps have revealed the location of lamination, high and low porosity zones as well as high and low sorption areas. In CT scanning, the porosity found in QEMSCAN, was not identified; however, a network of micro-fracture system in Murteree shale sample is identified.

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