Much of the recent understanding how shale reservoirs store and flow hydrocarbons has come from high resolution imaging of very small pores, especially within the kerogen component of shale. The industry was first made aware of the nature of porosity in shales in 200 D9 by the pioneering work of the Bureau of Economic Geology (University of Texas) in Austin. Robert Loucks and his colleagues presented images of Barnett Shale pores obtained with a revolutionary new technology called focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIBSIM). For the first time, geologists could see that the porosity of shale was unlike anything that had ever been observed previously. Loucks’ remarkable images clearly showed that the pores were not only very small (around 1 to 5 millionths of an inch across!) but that virtually all of the porosity in the Barnett was in the kerogen, not in between solid mineral grains like most other oil and gas reservoirs (Figure 1). These important findings have been confirmed by researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Indiana University.


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