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Speaker: Dr. Jinhong Chen
Date: Oct. 5
Location: Kinder Morgan - First Floor Conference Room, 1001 Louisiana St Houston, TX 77002
Parking: Travis Garage across milam, in front of Kinder Morgan, Open Air parking between Kinder Morgan and Shell N 2

We propose to fracture unconventional tight rocks with microwave (or electromagnetic wave (EM)) heating. The idea is based on the fact that when the temperature of water in a confined space, e.g., within a pore inside tight rock, increases, water cannot freely expand and consequently the pressure within water-filed pores quickly elevates to the point where it exceeds the rock’s tensile strength and breaks the rock. Microwave heating can rapidly increase the temperature of water in the tight rock due to the relatively large dielectric loss of innate water. This method works well for rocks with low permeability where water pressure leak off during the rapid heating is negligible in practice. We are presenting both the theory and results of our preliminary laboratory tests of the microwaving heating method for tight rocks. The feasibility and benefits of using microwave or EM heating to fracture unconventional tight reservoir are also discussed. Furthermore, the test results demonstrate that microwaving of shales pulverizes them.  When the sample is pulverized, it is likely that 100% of the light hydrocarbons are released. Hence, the proposed method also may provide insight into total recoverable light hydrocarbons per kilogram rock. In addition, we demonstrate that the tensile strength of the tight rocks can be measured using microwaving heating based on the developed theory. Tensile strength is a critical parameter needed to design and model hydraulic fracturing (or crack initiation and propagation) in oil and gas reservoirs, especially in shale reservoirs. The strength is estimated from the water-pore pressure (elevated through microwave heating) when the rock sample fails. Conventional methods for measuring rock tensile strength are time consuming and require precision “machined” samples and heavy mechanical instruments.

Biography:Dr. Jinhong Chen is currently a Petroleum Engineering Specialist at Aramco Research Centers-Houston and works on shale gas petrophysics regarding shale gas storage and matrix-transport there since 2013. He has a PhD in NMR physics from Chinese Academy of Science in 1998 and worked as a postdoc at University of Lausanne (1998-2000) and a Salem Research Fellow at Harvard and visiting scientist at MIT (2000-2002) . Since then, he worked as a senior scientist at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City (2002 – 2010) and at Baker Hughes in Houston (2010-2013).