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Physics and Chemistry in Nanoscale Rocks

22-26 March 2015 :: La Jolla, California


Technical Agenda

Session 1: What is Nanoscale?

Session Managers: Frank Walles and Mark Knackstedt

There is still debate on the meaning of nanoscale; how it is characterized and quantified; and how it affects behavior of fluids, physical transport and storage properties. Potential discussion topics:

  • Where is physics and chemistry of nanoscale important?  When?
  • What should we measure, and what can we measure?

Session 2: Nanoscale Physics and Chemistry and Associated Models

Session Managers: Mohammad Piri and Manika Prasa

Physical measurements and models of conventional rocks are not typically focused on the physics and chemistry relevant to the flow and transport at the nanoscale and the nano-to-micro scale transition. Potential discussion topics:

  • What are the new physical measurements and models needed to honor the shift to systems where laws of continuum physics are overshadowed by contact zones and contact physics?
  • What is the future of molecular dynamics simulations of flow and transport in nanopores?
  • What do we need to better understand water imbibition at the nanoscale fracture face?

Session 3: Characterization of Nanoscale Systems

Session Managers: Gerald Hamon and Lori Hathon

There are a variety of imaging technologies and high resolution measurements available to scientists and researchers today (confocal microscopes, micro- and nano-CT, focused ion beam milling SEM..). We will explore these and address future needs for nanoscale systems. Potential discussion topics:

  • Do we have appropriate techniques to quantify the geometry of the pore network in the submicron-nanometer domain and to partition between organic and inorganic phases?
  • What is the effect of sample collection and preparation on the observations and measurements?
  • What evidence do we have that natural micro-fissures exist in situ in unconventional reservoirs, and that they contribute to flow from the nano system?
  • What are the nanoscale controls of porosity and permeability? How can we predict them?

Session 4: Thermodynamics in Confined Spaces and Modeling  

Session Managers: Abbas Firoozabadi and Sergey Safonov         

Thermodynamics of fluids in nanopores can be different because of the wall effect when a limited number of molecules are confined, and when kerogen chemistry enters into the phase behavior formulation. Potential discussion topics:

  • How is fluid thermodynamics formulated at nanoscale by statistical physics concepts and/or other theoretical methods such as molecular dynamics and modified equation of state (EoS)?
  • Are new experimental methods needed to evaluate and analyze fluid phase behavior at nanoscale, and how representative is fluid from the formation?
  • How do fluid-fluid, fluid-rock interaction and surface chemistry impact the microstate and macro-scale?

Session 5: Generation of Hydrocarbons and Modeling - Chemistry and Physics of Kerogen

Session Managers: David Jacobi and Lev Vernik

Source rocks are comprised of kerogen. Questions arise over whether this kerogen porosity contributes significantly to the permeability in source rock reservoirs, and this have been difficult to evaluate because of fractures in cores and the lack of prototype nanoscale materials. Potential discussion topics:

  • How do we get a better understanding of the chemical and physical factors in kerogen that limit or control porosity development? 
  • Does pore pressure aid in developing and maintaining kerogen porosity and in creating permeability enhancing micro-fractures?
  • How does kerogen transform the geomechanics of the rock matrix?

Session 6: Improving Basin Modeling with Insights from the Nanoscale

Session Managers: John Pantano and Noelle Schoellkopf

Improving basin modeling require higher level of insights into rock-water reaction kinetics, diagenesis, the evolution of porosity and permeability paths in rocks with reactive fluids under non-hydrostatic state of stress, and the origins, generation and healing of microfractures. Potential discussion topics:

  • What controls the amount of producible hydrocarbons for different self-source system?
  • What scale of variability is there in the generation and expulsion that leads to in place hydrocarbon?
  • What are the interactions between original inorganic mineralogy with formation fluids that lead to variations in petrophysical properties?

Session 7: Maximizing Value from Nanoscale Physics

Session Managers: Shameem Siddiqui and Avrami Grader

Upscaling nanoscale processes for basin modeling and reservoir simulation and also directly applying knowledge of nanoscale physics in completion design are some of the keys to maximizing value. Potential discussion topics:  

  • How can we use our fundamental understanding of wettability and permeability to design better completion methods?
  • How can we use nanoscale physics and observations such as pore geometry, surface wettability, and hydrocarbon composition to “intelligently” modify our compositional simulators?
  • How do we use description of the inorganic and organic matrix to condition models of our interrelated dynamic processes?