Student Spotlight: Manas Pathak


Dr. Manas Pathak has recently defended his Ph.D. working with Dr. Milind Deo. For his Ph.D., Manas has examined the interaction between kerogen and formation fluids in shale rocks and its importance in predicting the Pressure-Volume-Temperature properties of oils. His research establishes the presence of two phases of oil in shales, absorbed and free oil. His thermodynamic models predict the retention of oil in the matured kerogen within the shales. He has also investigated enhanced recovery through CO2 sequestration in shales.

Manas is the recipient of the prestigious STAR scholarship from Society of Petroleum Engineers, Energy & Geoscience (EGI) fellowship and the INSPIRE Scholarship awarded by the Government of India. He received his Master of Science and Technology (Applied Geology) in 2013 from the IIT (ISM), Dhanbad before starting his Ph.D. at the University of Utah. Manas has delivered several well accepted talks in different conferences hosted by SPE, AAPG, SEG and EAGE. He has served as vice president for the student chapter of SPE and president for student chapter of A&WMA at the University of Utah. He is member of Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Petroleum Geologist, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.

About the Paper recognized as Session’s Best Paper:
(613d) Changes in Bubble Point of Hydrocarbons in Shales: Effect of Confinement and Presence of Kerogen

In Session
Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas: Science & Technology Advancement
Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 3:15 PM – 5:45 PM at Van Ness (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)

Abstract of the paper:

The exploration and production from shale plays have revolutionized oil and gas production in US. The fluid properties in low permeability, low porosity shales are, however different from the conventional reservoirs. The kerogen is an organic matter found in shale rocks. It is considered as precursor to oil and gas found in shales and is a key component of the shale rock. The pore sizes in organic and inorganic matrix in shales are found to be in the range of nanometers. Thermodynamics of the oil and gas in intergranular porosity and in kerogen-related porosity are topics of significant research. The saturation pressures of hydrocarbons changes due to confinement and presence of kerogen in shales. Molecular Dynamics Simulations of kerogen-oil system and experiments related to swelling of kerogen with oils show the interaction of kerogen with oil.

The kerogen behaves as a complex cross-linked organic polymer material and has been known to swell in presence of organic solvents. The current work performs experiments and molecular simulations to understand swelling of kerogen and implications of swelling of kerogen on thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbon fluids. The effect of confinement of fluids in nano pores of kerogen was also identified. Kerogen was isolated from a whole shale rock sample and characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA), differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), and nitrogen adsorption experiments. The swelling behavior of the kerogen with decane was analyzed using simple test-tube swelling and dynamic light scattering experiments. The TGA and DSC were used to analyze the behavior of decane that was absorbed in the kerogen. Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations were performed for swelling of kerogen with number of solvents at a range of temperature and pressure conditions. The MD simulations reveal preferential uptake of hydrocarbon fluids in kerogen and difference in swelling of kerogen with different solvents. This means that kerogen splits oil into two phases- an absorbed phase and a free phase. The results from TGA and DSC show that kerogen suppresses the boiling point of decane due to the effect of confinement. The suppression is larger when oil (a multicomponent mixture of organic solvents) was used. DSC experiments performed on oil and oil laden kerogen show the combined effect of preferential swelling of kerogen (splitting of oil in absorbed and free phase) and confinement on bubble point of oil.

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