Shale at all Scales Workshop (June 8-11, 2015)

This two-and-a-half day workshop consists of invited talks, poster sessions, a field trip, and breakout sessions. Invited talks will address geochemical, geomechanical, and hydrogeological coupling over multiple temporal and spatial scales. Speakers will express their views on research gaps and points of potential multi-disciplinary efforts. Breakout sessions will identify needed research for the themes of geochemical, geomechanical, and hydrogeological coupling, and will brainstorm potential directions for collaborations. The field trip will develop attendees’ insight into sedimentological and diagenetic controls on multiscale shale heterogeneity. The last half day will include a subgroup of attendees to layout a journal manuscript based on this workshop.


A review journal manuscript detailing the major findings of the working meeting, including the identification of current scientific limitations and research needs.

Why Attend

“Shales at All Scales” will bring together researchers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to identify the next level of advancement needed for understanding multiscale coupled processes in shale. Fundamental coupled processes are the main focus, with an eye to engineering and industry applications. The meeting will foster abundant discussions through theme-focused breakout sessions and a field trip to nearby shale formations. This meeting will also foster potential future collaborations for addressing shale-centric research in the context of future funding programs (e.g., U.S. DOE’s SubTER).

Organizing Committee (in alphabetical order)

  • Susan Altman (SNL)
  • L. Taras Bryndzia (Shell)
  • David Cole (Ohio State University)
  • Randy Cygan (SNL)
  • Thomas Dewers (SNL)
  • Jason Heath (SNL)
  • Anastasia Ilgen (SNL)
  • Yousif Kharaka (USGS)
  • Peter Mozley (NMT)
  • Laura Pyrak-Nolte (Purdue)
  • Marianne Walck (SNL)

Monday, June 8, 2015

7:00–10:00 pm         Welcome Reception. Registration materials will be available.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

7:00–8:00 am Registration and logistics. Posters are to be displayed at this time.

8:00 am Welcoming Remarks

8:00 am Marianne Walck, Sandia National Laboratories, Welcoming Remarks

8:10 am Ray Boswell, NETL, Enabling the Environmentally-Prudent Development of Shale Resources

8:30 am Session 1 – Physical and geochemical processes in shale controlled by diagenesis

8:30 am Juergen Schieber, Indiana Univeristy, A Conceptual View of the Connection Between Depositional Processes, Depositional History, Diagenesis, and Porosity in Shales

8:50 am Yousif Kharaka, USGS, Chemical composition of formation water in shale: a basin-scale perspective

9:10 am  Charles Bryan, Sandia National Laboratories, Water Activity in Oil and Gas Shales

9:30 am Kitty Milliken, Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas, Cements Precipitate in Shales, but When, Where, and Why?

9:50 Break

10:05 am Session 2 – nano-confinement and pore-scale coupled processes in shale

10:05 am L. Taras Bryndzia, Shell, Controls and origin of high salinities in hydraulic fracture flowback brines – An example from the Marcellus and Haynesville Gas Shale, USA

10:25 am David Cole, Ohio State University, Influence of Nanoscale Porosity on the Behavior of C-O-H Fluids

10:45 am Nicola Ferralis, MIT, Downscaling the characterization of organic shales: relating macroscopic kerogen geochemistry to its microscale chemical heterogeneity

11:05 am H. Todd Schaef, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Investigating geochemical interactions of shale-CO2 rich fluids at pressure and temperature with XRD and FTIR Spectroscopy

11:25 am Tim Kneafsey, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Shale pore network characterization and modeling for flow, chemistry, and mechanics

11:45 am Lunch (posters can be viewed during this time)

12:45 pm Session 3 – Fracture and coupled processes

12:45 pm Norm Warpinski, Pinnacle–A Halliburton Company, Hydraulic fracturing of multi-stage horizontal wells in shale reservoirs

1:05 pm John Lorenz, FractureStudies LLC, Natural fractures in shale and their effect on permeability

1:25 pm Dean Willberg, Schlumberger, Rock-fluid Interactions In Shales – Implications for Fracture Performance

1:45 pm Laura Pyrak-Nolte, Purdue University, Scaling Behavior of Flow and Stiffness for Fractures

2:05 I. Yucel Akkutlu, Texas A&M University, Flow and transport from matrix to fracture network in shale

2:25 Mark Grubelich, Sandia National Labs, An Overview of Novel Energetic Stimulation Techniques

2:45-3:00 Break

3:00 pm Session 3 – Fracture and coupled processes continued

3:00 pm Bill Carey, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Triaxial experiment studies of fracture-permeability behavior of shale

3:20 pm Mohsen Ahmadian, UT Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Nanotech and contrast agents for enhanced mapping of fracture networks

3:40 pm James Kessler, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Integrating multi-scale data sets to characterize the influence of fractures in an unconventional reservoir

4:00 pm Johnathan Moore, NETL, Physical and hydraulic aperture evaluation of shale fractures using computed tomography

4:20 pm Esteban Rougier, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Modeling of natural and hydraulic fracture generation in shale

4:40 pm  Hai Huang, Idaho National Laboratory, Physics-based modeling for propagations of interacting hydraulic fractures and reactivation of natural fractures in shales

5:00 pm Dinner (posters can be viewed during this time)

6:00 pm Meet in the Drury Plaza main lobby

6:15 pm  Walk to the Santa Fe Convention Center, 201 West Marcey Street

6:30 pm   Rattlesnake Safety Training, at the Santa Fe Convention Center, 201 West Marcey Street in the Peralta and Lamy rooms  – by Bob Myers, Director of the American International Rattlesnake Museum, Albuquerque

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

7:30 am Field Trip – visit shale formations within the Santa Fe area to observe shale heterogeneity and evidence of coupled processes – led by Jason Heath (SNL), Daniel Koning, and Andrew Jochems (New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources)

12:00 pm Lunch (posters can be viewed during this time)

1:00 pm Session 5 – Multi-scale, multi-physics behavior of shale

1:00 pm Susan Altman, Sandia National Laboratories, Second day welcoming remarks

1:10 am Carl Steefel, Lawrence Berkley National Lab, Modeling Reactive Transport in Fractured Shales

1:30 John Bargar, Stanford University, Geochemical control of shale fracture and matrix permeability: linking processes across scales

1:50 pm Roberto Suarez-Rivera, W.D.Von Gonten Laboratories LLC, Upscaling shale properties for geomechanical and hydraulic fracture applications

2:10 pm Thomas Dewers, Sandia National Laboratories, Multiphysics connections from pore structures to large-scale transport: understanding long-tail behavior

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45 pm Three break-out groups

Group 1 – Geomechanics/Fracture

Leads: Dustin Crandall and Laura Pyrak-Nolte


  1. Characterizing existing stress and fractures to predict hydrofracturing of shale
  2. Constitutive laws for shale

Group 2 – Geochemistry 

Leads: Tim Kneafsey, Dean Willberg, L. Taras Bryndzia


  1. Geochemistry in nano-porous environments
  2. Geochemical effects of the limited activity of water

Group 3 – Geology, fluid flow and transport

Leads: I. Yucel Akkutlu and Kitty Milliken


  1. Cements in shales, their controls on porosity, permeability, and regional flow and transport
  2. TOC conversion and flow behavior in multi-porosity systems

3:45 pm Break

4:00 pm Break-out groups come together:

Leads: Thomas Dewers and Randall Cygan

The leads from the three earlier discussion groups will present a 3 minute summary each in the beginning of this session.  Based on those summaries, Thomas Dewers and Randall Cygan will pose the questions for the multi-disciplinary discussion.

5:30 pm Adjourn

Thursday, June 11, 2015

8:00 am Organizing committee meeting for drafting the review manuscript

To be attended by breakout session leads and working meeting organizers. The outline and content of the review journal manuscript will be developed and writing assignments given.

10 am Adjourn

Organizing Committee (in alphabetical order)

Susan Altman (SNL), L. Taras Bryndzia (Shell), David Cole (Ohio State University), Randy Cygan (SNL), Thomas Dewers (SNL), Jason Heath (SNL), Anastasia Ilgen (SNL), Yousif Kharaka (USGS), Peter Mozley (NMT), and Laura Pyrak-Nolte (Purdue)

Print Agenda


We will visit outcrops of the Upper Cretaceous Mancos Shale in the Cerrillos Hills area south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Mancos Shale extends through Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Its deposition over ~ 10 million years marks the greatest extent of seas over North America. The Field Trip participants will discuss the regional geology and various features controlling permeability of shales. Specific stops at shale outcrops will focus on natural fractures and lithofacies heterogeneity, concretions and diagenesis, and the discordant intrusion of hornblende porphyry.

Field Trip Safety

The participants will receive a safety brochure prior to the trip. Vehicles will have seat belts for all participants. Visibility vests and hard hats will be provided. Please wear boots with ankle support, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring plenty of water.

Field Trip Schedule, June 10, 2015

7:00 Safety Meeting in a Conference Room at the Drury Plaza Hotel

7:30 Group leaves to Cerrillos Hills area

12:00 pm Group arrives back to Drury Plaza Hotel

Drury Plaza Hotel

828 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 505-424-2175


  • From the Albuquerque Sunport to the Drury Plaza Hotel, Santa Fe View Map 
  • Santa Fe Area Map

Attendee Hotel Rate

A limited block of rooms is for the special rate of $94/night (+ taxes). These rooms can be reserved online at a discounted rate. Please make your reservations by May 25, 2015.

This special rate is only available for reservations made through May 25, 2015 or until our block is full (whichever occurs first). Please make your reservations early.

 Travel to Hotel

  • Sandia Shuttle Express (departing hourly from 8:45 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.).  One way trip is $28.00 per person; Round trip is $48.00 per person.  Make reservation online more than 24 hours in advance.
  • Roadrunner Shuttle & Charter (their website is bad – not clear when they run from ABQ to Santa Fe).  They cost is $30.00 one way and $55.00 round trip.  Make reservations online more than 24 hours in advance.