Petroleum Habitats

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Commercial Implications

The New Science demonstrates that source rocks possess natural catalytic activity for converting kerogens to catalytic natural gas in real time.  

If gas is catalytic, “the higher hydrocarbons in source rocks are gas reservoirs, raising the possibility of substantially more gas in shales than analytically apparent, and far more gas in shale deposits than currently recognized.” Mango Geochemical Transactions 2013, 14:5

Catalytic gas can therefore be viewed as a currently unrecognized, significant form of unconventional gas.

Commercial Implications

Shale Activity

Catalytic activity varies between shales, likely reflecting differing compositions and amounts of transition metal catalysts believed to originate from common bacterial enzymes.  

Petroleum Habitats believes a shale’s catalytic activity level dictates what it can generate during real time production.   This activity can be measured, and we use this information in unconventional E&P services.

Engineering Catalytic Gas

Catalytic shale generation is essentially an industrial catalytic process. All such processes are chemical reactors subject to the dynamic laws of physical chemistry.  Most industrial processes are continuous flow reactors, while catalytic shale gas generation can be viewed as a continuous closed reactor supplying its own feed. They are otherwise the same and equally amenable to engineering. All industrial catalytic processes have ideal conditions (temperatures, pressures, and generation rates) for sustained reactions with maximum yields and unstable conditions where reactions descend to termination.

Optimization During Production

We employ a series of diagnostics (molecular and isotopic compositions, production data) on production gas samples to assess the robustness and dynamics of catalytic gas generation. This information serves as input to a model that represents catalytic gas generation as an industrial catalytic process and directs changes in production parameters accordingly. 

Initiation of well production: analyze gas samples hourly to assess early catalytic gas generation and its potential over time.

Shut-ins: analyze gas samples before and after shut-ins. The approach to thermodynamic equilibrium on shut-in and the fall from equilibrium under gas flow are powerful assessments of catalytic gas generation.

Monitoring gas compositions over time: gas compositions can change during periods of instability thus signaling declines in production rates.  Gas samples are analyzed during periods of change (e.g. pressure) for evidence of reaction instability.