Sorption characteristics in coal and shale: A review for enhanced methane recovery

Xiangjie Qin, Harpreet Singh, Jianchao Cai

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The exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources within coal and shale reservoirs is an engineering challenge. Well-developed internal micro-pore structures, complex sorption mechanism as well as numerous influencing factors affecting the gas flow are generally not well-accounted in the commercial life-cycle of shale gas and coalbed methane wells. Although large number of studies have been conducted to propose improved sorption models and study the influencing factors on adsorption and desorption characteristics of methane and CO2 in coal and shale reservoirs, a systematic review of such studies for efficient understanding of the accumulated literature is missing, especially with a focus towards coal and shale reservoirs. In that context, this study presents a review of sorption characteristics of methane in coal and shale. Firstly, theoretical mechanisms for methane sorption are introduced, followed by description of sorption models. Further, three factors influencing the sorption of gas in coal and shale are described: total organic carbon and clays, pore structures, and reservoir conditions. Finally, the preferential sorption characteristics of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide are described, and the methods to promote methane desorption for enhanced recovery are discussed, which include technologies such as gas injection, microwave heating, and hydraulic fracturing.

Cited as: Qin, X., Harpreet, S., Cai, J. Sorption characteristics in coal and shale: A review for enhanced methane recovery. Capillarity, 2022, 5(1): 1-11.


Coalbed methane, shale gas, sorption, enhanced recovery

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