Flow and Transport in Tight and Shale Formations: A Review

Amgad Salama, Mohamed El-Amin, Kundan Kumar, Shuyu Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A review on the recent advances of the flow and transport phenomena in tight and shale formations is presented in this work. Exploration of oil and gas in resources that were once considered inaccessible opened the door to highlight interesting phenomena that require attention and understanding. The length scales associated with transport phenomena in tight and shale formations are rich. From nanoscale phenomena to field-scale applications, a unified frame that is able to encounter the varieties of phenomena associated with each scale may not be possible. Each scale has its own tools and limitations that may not, probably, be suitable at other scales. Multiscale algorithms that effectively couple simulations among various scales of porous media are therefore important. In this article, a review of the different length scales and the tools associated with each scale is introduced. Highlights on the different phenomena pertinent to each scale are summarized. Furthermore, the governing equations describing flow and transport phenomena at different scales are investigated. In addition, methods to solve these equations using numerical techniques are introduced. Cross-scale analysis and derivation of linear and nonlinear Darcy's scale laws from pore-scale governing equations are described. Phenomena occurring at molecular scales and their thermodynamics are discussed. Flow slippage at the nanosize pores and its upscaling to Darcy's scale are highlighted. Pore network models are discussed as a viable tool to estimate macroscopic parameters that are otherwise difficult to measure. Then, the environmental aspects associated with the different technologies used in stimulating the gas stored in tight and shale formations are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
StatePublished - Sep 18 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Shuyu Sun acknowledges that this work is supported by the KAUST research fund awarded to the Computational Transport Phenomena Laboratory at KAUST through Grant BAS/1/1351-01-01. In addition, Shuyu Sun thanks his Ph.D. student Tao Zhang for his help in collecting and compiling results on Klinkenberg effect and Knudsen diffusion in shale.


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