(260aq) Application of Nanofluidics in Understanding Fluid Flow in Tight Rocks

Pathak, M. - Presenter, University of Utah
Deo, M., University of Utah
Even with the advent of technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the recoveries in shale oil and gas plays tend to be in single digits. There is a dearth of knowledge of dynamics at pore scale. The pores sizes in organic and inorganic parts of rocks are believed to be in nano meters in the shales. The connectivity between these nano pores provide nano flow pathways which contribute towards the flow of oil and gas from matrix to the hydraulic fractures. There is increasing need of understanding the fluid flow in these ultra tight shale reservoirs. Nanofluidic devices with â??lab on a chipâ?? approach provide a fresh perspective to look at the fluid flow in nano channels present in shale rocks.

In the current work, nano channels were fabricated on a silicon wafer and single to multi phase fluid flow was captured using high speed imaging system. The paper talks about the application of traditional fabrication processes like photolithography, Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) and Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) to make nano fluidic devices for application in understanding flow of oil and gas. An attempt has been made to test and refine Darcyâ??s law of fluid flow which fails to capture the pore wall interactions in the ultra tight rocks. The paper aims to provide relevant data that can be used to tune traditional flow simulators used in modeling fluid flow in the low permeability rocks.