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Article dans une revue

Natural gas of radiolytic origin: An overlooked component of shale gas

Abstract : Natural gas is an important fossil energy source that has historically been produced from conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs. It has been interpreted to be of microbial, thermogenic, or, in specific contexts, abiotic origin. Since the beginning of the 21st century, natural gas has been increasingly produced from unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs including organic-rich shales. Here, we show, based on a careful interpretation of natural gas samples from numerous unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs and results from recent irradiation experiments, that there is a previously overlooked source of natural gas that is generated by radiolysis of organic matter in shales. We demonstrate that radiolytic gas containing methane, ethane, and propane constitutes a significant end-member that can account for >25% of natural gas mixtures in major shale gas plays worldwide that have high organic matter and uranium contents. The consideration of radiolytic gas in natural gas mixtures provides alternative explanations for so-called carbon isotope reversals and suggests revised interpretations of some natural gas origins. We submit that considering natural gas of radiolytic origin as an additional component in uranium-bearing shale gas formations will lead to a more accurate determination of the origins of natural gas.
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Soumis le : lundi 18 juillet 2022 - 12:26:18
Dernière modification le : mercredi 3 août 2022 - 04:06:19

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Maria Naumenko-Dèzes, Wolfram Kloppmann, Michaela Blessing, Raphaël Bondu, Eric C Gaucher, et al.. Natural gas of radiolytic origin: An overlooked component of shale gas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, National Academy of Sciences, 2022, 119 (15), ⟨10.1073/pnas.2114720119/-/DCSupplemental⟩. ⟨hal-03726253⟩

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