Mechanism and influence factor of hydrocarbon gas diffusion in porous media with shale oil

Ze Wanyan, Yishan Liu, Zhen Li, Chi Zhang, Yuqi Liu, Ting Xue

Abstract view|0|times       PDF download|0|times


Due to the compactness of shale reservoir matrix and the high conductivity of fractures, the hydrocarbon gas injection huff and puff method or displacement is the most realistic technology to improve shale oil recovery. The diffusion mechanism plays an important role in shale oil development; therefore, it is crucial to figure out the factors influencing diffusion, which could enhance shale oil recovery. In this paper, a physical simulation experiment is designed to evaluate the diffusion ability of  hydrocarbon gas. Diffusion experiments are conducted to simulate diffusion in the bulk fluid and in the porous media, to learn about how the pressure, permeability and fracture affect the diffusion behavior. The diffusion coefficients between the bulk diffusion and core sample diffusion are compared. The experimental results show that the diffusion coefficient and mass transfer capacity are positively correlated with permeability and pressure: increasing these parameters can promote the diffusion process. The diffusion coefficient of  hydrocarbon gas in a saturated oil core is significantly less than that in crude oil, which indicates that the porous media seriously affects the process of gas diffusion in crude oil. Fractures have little impact on the diffusion behavior. Combined with numerical simulation, the influencing factor of diffusion on the development effect of hydrocarbon gas injection is clarified. The recovery enhances and then decreases with the increasing diffusion  coefficient.

Cited as: Wanyan, Z., Liu, Y., Li, Z., Zhang, C., Liu, Y., Xue, T. Mechanism and influence factor of hydrocarbon gas diffusion in porous media with shale oil. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2023, 7(1): 39-48.


Hydrocarbon gas-shale oil diffusion effect, physical experiment, numerical simulation

Full Text:



Aguilera, R. Flow units: From conventional to tight-gas to shale-gas to tight-oil to shale-oil reservoirs. SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, 2014, 17(2): 190-208.

Alfarge, D., Wei, M., Bai, B., et al. Effect of molecular-diffusion mechanism on CO2 huff-n-puff process in shale-oil reservoirs. Paper SPE 188003 Presented at SPE Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, 24-27 April, 2017.

Alfarge, D., Wei, M., Bai, B. CO2-EOR mechanisms in huff-n-puff operations in shale oil reservoirs based on history matching results. Fuel, 2018, 226: 112-120.

Atchariyawut, S., Jiraratananon, R., Wang, R. Mass transfer study and modeling of gas-liquid membrane contacting process by multistage cascade model for CO2 absorption. Separation and Purification Technology, 2008, 63(1): 15-22.

Aziz, A., Abdulaziz, A., Habib, M., et al. Carbon dioxide (CO2) miscible flooding in tight oil reservoirs a case. Paper SPE 127616 Presented at the Kuwait International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 14-16 December, 2009.

Cronin, M., Emami-Meybodi, H., Johns, R. T. Diffusion-dominated proxy model for solvent injection in ultratight oil reservoirs. SPE Journal, 2019, 24(2): 660-680.

Ertas, D., Kelemen, S. R., Halsey, T. C. Petroleum expulsion Part 1. Theory of kerogen swelling in multicomponent solvents. Energy & Fuels, 2006, 20(1): 295-300.

Etminan, S., Maini, B., Chen, Z., et al. Constant-pressure technique for gas diffusivity and solubility measurements in heavy oil and bitumen. Energy & Fuels, 2010, 24(1): 533-549.

Fayazi, A., Kantzas, A. Modeling of CO2 diffusion into water-shielded oil at pore scale using moving mesh technique. Chemical Engineering Science, 2018, 179: 64-72.

Hoteit, H. Proper modeling of diffusion in fractured reservoirs. Paper SPE 141937 Presented at the SPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 21-23 February, 2011.

Hummel, N., Shapiro, S. A. Nonlinear diffusion-based interpretation of induced micro seismicity: A Barnett shale hydraulic fracturing case study nonlinear diffusion and fracturing of shales. Geophysics, 2013, 78(5): B211-B226.

Janiga, D., Czarnota, R., Stopa, J., et al. Huff and puff process optimization in micro scale by coupling laboratory experiment and numerical simulation. Fuel, 2018, 224: 289-301.

Jia, B., Tsau, J. S., Barati, R. Role of molecular diffusion in heterogeneous, naturally fractured shale reservoirs during CO2 huff-n-puff. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2018, 164: 31-42.

Mavroudi, M., Kaldis, S. P., Sakellaropoulos, G. P. A study of mass transfer resistance in membrane gas-liquid contacting processes. Journal of Membrane Science, 2006, 272(1-2): 103-115.

Mohammed, S., Mansoori, G. A. Molecular insights on the interfacial and transport properties of supercritical CO2/brine/crude oil ternary system. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 2018, 263: 268-273.

Mohanty, K., Zeng, T., Miller, C. Chemical blend-CO2 huff-n-puff for enhanced oil recovery in shales. Paper URTeC 362 Presented at the SPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, Denver, Colorado, 22-24 July, 2019.

Mukherjee, S., Dang, S. T., Rai, C., et al. Novel techniques to measure oil-gas diffusion at high pressure & high temperature conditions: Application for huff-n-puff EOR in shale. Paper URTeC: 2203 Presented at the SPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, Austin, Texas, 20-22 July, 2020.

Rani, S., Prusty, B. K., Pal, S. K. Adsorption kinetics and diffusion modeling of CH4 and CO2 in Indian shales. Fuel, 2018, 216: 61-70.

Sæle, A., Graue, A., Alcorn, Z. P. Unsteady-state CO2 foam injection for increasing enhanced oil recovery and carbon storage potential. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2022, 6(6): 472-481.

Sharma, A., Namsani, S., Singh, J. K. Molecular simulation of shale gas adsorption and diffusion in inorganic nanopores. Molecular Simulation, 2015, 41(5-6): 414-422.

Shu, G., Dong, M., Chen, S., et al. Mass transfer of CO2 in a & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2016, 56(1): 404-416.

Singh, H. Impact of four different CO2 injection schemes on extent of reservoir pressure and saturation. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2018, 2(3): 305-318.

Unatrakarn, D., Asghari, K., Condor, J. Experimental studies of CO2 and CH4 diffusion coefficient in bulk oil and porous media. Energy Procedia, 2011, 4: 2170-2177.

Wang, L. Convective diffusion of driving gases in reservoir fluids (I). Petroleum Exploration and Development, 1996, 23(6): 62-66. (in Chinese)

Yang, Z., Liu, X., Zhang, Z., et al. Physical simulation of staged-fracturing horizontal wells using CO2 huff and puff in tight oil reservoirs. Acta Petrolei Sinica, 2015(6): 724-729. (in Chinese)

Zhang, Y., Hyndman, C., Maini, B. Measurement of gas diffusivity in heavy oils. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2000, 25(1-2): 37-47.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 The Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright ©2018. All Rights Reserved