Evaluation of Energy Storage Potential of Unconventional Shale Reservoirs Using Numerical Simulation of Cyclic Gas Injection Paper No. JERT-20-1780

Chad Augustine, Henry Johnston, David Young, Kaveh Amini, Ilkay Uzun, Hossein Kazemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


Compressed air energy storage (CAES) stores energy as compressed air in underground formations, typically salt dome caverns. When electricity demand grows, the compressed air is released through a turbine to produce electricity. CAES in the US is limited to one plant built in 1991, due in part to the inherent risk and uncertainty of developing subsurface storage reservoirs. As an alternative to CAES, we propose using some of the hundreds of thousands of hydraulically fractured horizontal wells to store energy as compressed natural gas in unconventional shale reservoirs. To store energy, produced or "sales"natural gas is injected back into the formation using excess electricity and is later produced through an expander to generate electricity. To evaluate this concept, we performed numerical simulations of cyclic natural gas injection into unconventional shale reservoirs using CMG-GEM commercial reservoir modeling software. We tested short-term (diurnal) and long-term (seasonal) energy storage potential by modeling well injection and production gas flowrates as a function of bottom-hole pressure. First, we developed a conceptual model of a single fracture stage in an unconventional shale reservoir to characterize reservoir behavior during cyclic injection and production. Next, we modeled cyclic injection in the Marcellus shale gas play using published data. Results indicate that Marcellus unconventional shale reservoirs could support both short- and long-term energy storage at capacities of 100-1000 kWe per well. The results indicate that energy storage in unconventional shale gas wells may be feasible and warrants further investigation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112004
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Energy Resources Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 by ASME.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-76512


  • Energy conversion/systems
  • Energy storage systems
  • Natural gas technology
  • Oil/gas reservoirs
  • Unconventional petroleum
  • Underground injection and storage
  • Wells-injection/oil/gas/geothermal


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