Technical Brief

Evaluating Oil Potential in Shale Formations Using Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy

[+] Author and Article Information
Yizhang Li

Beijing Key Laboratory of Optical Detection
Technology for Oil and Gas,
China University of Petroleum-Beijing,
Fuxue Road 18,
Beijing 102249, China

Xinyang Miao

Beijing Key Laboratory of Optical Detection Technology
for Oil and Gas,
China University of Petroleum-Beijing,
Fuxue Road 18,
Beijing 102249, China

Honglei Zhan, Rima Bao, Wenxiu Leng

Beijing Key Laboratory of Optical Detection Technology
for Oil and Gas,
China University of Petroleum-Beijing,
Fuxue Road 18,
Beijing 102249, China

Wei Wang

China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Shanghai
Research Institute,
National Engineering Laboratory of Direct Coal
Shuangbai Road 368,
Shanghai 201108, China

Kun Zhao

Beijing Key Laboratory of Optical Detection Technology
for Oil and Gas,
China University of Petroleum-Beijing,
Fuxue Road 18,
Beijing 102249, China
e-mail: zhk@cup.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 11, 2016; final manuscript received November 21, 2017; published online December 22, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Daoyong (Tony) Yang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(3), 034501 (Dec 22, 2017) (5 pages) Paper No: JERT-16-1338; doi: 10.1115/1.4038664 History: Received August 11, 2016; Revised November 21, 2017

Optical assessment of oil shale using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) was carried out to study oil potential. Fischer assay testing was employed to obtain the oil yield of oil shale specimens to examine the difference of oil potential between oil shale samples from three regions: Beipiao, Barkol, and Huadian in China. Then, two types of specimens from each area were prepared for the optical tests and the results were compared. The refractive index (n) at 0.2–1.2 THz was derived; n decreased slowly with increasing frequency for all the specimens despite the oscillation pattern observed at lower frequencies. The specimen preparation method that mixed the powdered material led to minor differences between the specimens. The different response of kerogen to the terahertz pulse depending on the kerogen's evolutionary stage leads to a difference in the refractive index between the specimens from the various regions. This study indicates that using THz-TDS to evaluate the oil content in oil shale without inducing reaction within the specimen can be an effective method for resource exploration.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Vedachalam, N. , Srinivasalu, S. , Rajendran, G. , Ramadass, G. A. , and Atmanand, M. A. , 2015, “ Review of Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources in Major Energy Consuming Countries and Efforts in Realizing Natural Gas Hydrates as a Future Source of Energy,” J. Nat. Gas. Sci. Eng., 26, pp. 163–175. [CrossRef]
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2012, “Unconventional Oil and Gas Production: Opportunities and Challenges of Oil Shale Development,” U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington, DC, Report No. GAO-12-740T. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-740T
Altun, N. E. , Hicyilmaz, C. , Hwang, J. Y. , Bagci, A. S. , and Kok, M. V. , 2006, “ Oil Shales in the World and Turkey; Reserves, Current Situation and Future Prospects: A Review,” Oil Shale, 23(3), pp. 211–227. http://www.kirj.ee/public/oilshale/oil-2006-3-2.pdf
Suuberg, E. M. , 2010, “ Editor's Page. Oil Shale—Challenges and Opportunities,” Oil Shale, 34(4), pp. 279–280. [CrossRef]
Chen, C. , Gao, S. , Sun, Y. H. , Guo, W. , and Li, Q. , 2017, “ Research on Underground Dynamic Fluid Pressure Balance in the Process of Oil Shale In-Situ Fracturing-Nitrogen Injection Exploitation,” ASME J. Energy Resour., 139(3), p. 032908. [CrossRef]
Syed, S. , Qudaih, R. , Talab, I. , and Janajreh, I. , 2011, “ Kinetics of Pyrolysis and Combustion of Oil Shale Sample From Thermogravimetric Data,” Fuel, 90(4), pp. 1631–1637. [CrossRef]
Tiwari, P. , and Deo, M. , 2012, “ Compositional and Kinetic Analysis of Oil Shale Pyrolysis Using TGA–MS,” Fuel, 94, pp. 333–341. [CrossRef]
Al-Harahsheh, M. , Al-Ayed, O. , Robinson, J. , Kingman, S. , Al-Harahsheh, A. , Tarawneh, K. , Saeid, A. , and Barranco, R. , 2011, “ Effect of Demineralization and Heating Rate on the Pyrolysis Kinetics of Jordanian Oil Shales,” Fuel Process. Technol., 92(9), pp. 1805–1811. [CrossRef]
Tong, J. , Han, X. , Wang, S. , and Jiang, X. , 2010, “ Evaluation of Structural Characteristics of Huadian Oil Shale Kerogen Using Direct Techniques (Solid-State 13C NMR, XPS, FT-IR, and XRD),” Energy Fuels, 25(9), pp. 4006–4013. [CrossRef]
Haddad, J. E. , Bousquet, B. , Canioni, L. , and Mounaix, P. , 2013, “ Review in Terahertz Spectral Analysis,” TrAC, Trends Anal. Chem., 44, pp. 98–105. [CrossRef]
Al-Douseri, F. M. , Chen, Y. , and Zhang, X. C. , 2006, “ THz Wave Sensing for Petroleum Industrial Applications,” Int. J. Infrared Millimeter Waves, 27(4), pp. 481–503. [CrossRef]
Oda, M. , Mase, A. , and Uchino, K. , 2012, “ Nondestructive Measurement of Sugar Content in Apples by Millimeter-Wave Reflectometry,” J. Infrared, Millimeter, Terahertz Waves, 33(2), pp. 228–236. [CrossRef]
Catapano, I. , Soldovieri, F. , Mazzola, L. , and Toscano, C. , “ THz Imaging as a Method to Detect Defects of Aeronautical Coatings,” J. Infrared, Millimeter, Terahertz Waves, 38(10), pp. 1264–1277. [CrossRef]
Bao, R. M. , Wu, S. X. , Zhao, K. , Zheng, L. J. , and Xu, C. H. , 2013, “ Applying Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy to Probe the Evolution of Kerogen in Close Pyrolysis Systems,” Sci. China Phys. Mech., 56(8), pp. 1603–1605. [CrossRef]
Nelfa, D. , Takuya, N. , Kimihito, N. , Akira, I. , Kuniyuki, K. , and Ashwani, K. G. , 2013, “ Spectroscopic Observation of Chemical Species From High-Temperature Air Pulverized Coal Combustion,” ASME J. Energy Resour., 135(3), p. 034503.
Hiroyuki, O. , Joe, K. , Shigeo, Y. , Kuniyuki, K. , and Ashwani, K. G. , 2013, “ Time-Resolved Two-Dimensional Temperature Measurement From Acetylene-Oxygen Flame Using Chemical Seeding Spectrocamera,” ASME J. Energy Resour., 136(1), p. 011101. [CrossRef]
Hirotoshi, T. , Hiroshi, A. , Kuniyuki, K. , Hiroyuki, O. , and Ashwani, K. G. , 2014, “ Laser-Induced Plasma Spectrometry With Chemical Seeding and Application to Flow Mixing Analysis in Methane–Air Flames,” ASME J. Energy Resour., 137(1), p. 012202. [CrossRef]
Vandenbroucke, M. , and Largeau, C. , 2007, “ Kerogen Origin, Evolution and Structure,” Org. Geochem., 38(5), pp. 719–833. [CrossRef]
Pernia, D. , Bissada, K. K. , and Curiale, J. , 2015, “ Kerogen Based Characterization of Major Gas Shales: Effects of Kerogen Fractionation,” Org. Geochem., 78, pp. 52–61. [CrossRef]
Falk, K. , Pellenq, R. , Ulm, F. J. , and Coasne, B. , 2015, “ Effect of Chain Length and Pore Accessibility on Alkane Adsorption in Kerogen,” Energy Fuels, 29(12), pp. 7889–7896. [CrossRef]
Kao, K. C. , 2004, Dielectric Phenomena in Solids, Elsevier Academic Press, London, pp. 92–93.
Bousige, C. , Ghimbeu, C. M. , Vixguterl, C. , Pomerantz, A. E. , Suleimenova, A. , Vaughan, G. , Garbarino, G. , Feygenson, M. , Wildgruber, C. , and Ulm, F. J. , 2016, “ Realistic Molecular Model of Kerogen's Nanostructure,” Nat. Mater., 15, pp. 576–582. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Cao, T. T. , Song, Z. G. , Wang, S. B. , and Jia, X. , 2015, “ A Comparative Study of the Specific Surface Area and Pore Structure of Different Shales and Their Kerogens,” Sci. China Earth Sci., 58(4), pp. 510–522. [CrossRef]
Scales, J. A. , and Batzle, M. , 2006, “ Millimeter Wave Analysis of the Dielectric Properties of Oil Shales,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 89(2), p. 024102. [CrossRef]
Al-Ayed, O. S. , and Matouq, M. , 2009, “ Factors Affecting Sulfur Reactions in High Sulfur Oil Shale Pyrolysis,” ASME J. Energy Resour., 131(1), p. 012501.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Correlation between the integral of n from 0.2 to 1.2 THz and oil potential

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Refractive indexes (n) for specimens from Beipiao, Barkol, and Huadian; type-1 specimens (lower panels) and type-2 (upper panels), where the different colors correspond to the different specimens

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Time-domain spectroscopy and frequency domain spectroscopy (insert) of the reference and an oil shale specimen

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

A schematic diagram of THz-TDS system



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In