||This contribution uses six claystone samples imaged by FIB/SEM (Focused Ion Beam/Scanning Electron Microscopy), within micrometric volumes located in the clay matrix; their 3D connected pore network is identified down to 17-22 nm pore size. All samples are gently dried to minimize damage, and several are impregnated with Poly(Methyl MethAcrylate) (PMMA) resin to avoid further damage during FIB/SEM observations. Three pore volumes out of six are connected between two parallel end surfaces through crack-like pores; two are not connected between any two parallel end surfaces; only one sample has a connected pore network distinct from cracks.
By assuming varied pathways for gas to migrate by capillarity through the connected pore volumes (either by taking the shortest path, or through the largest path, or through the most frequent pore size, or by simulating the ingress of a non wetting fluid), we determine the Gas Breakthrough Pressure (GBP) through the initially fully liquid saturated claystone, from these micrometric volumes. The scale change (from the micrometric to the macroscopic scale) is assumed possible without changing the GBP value, and clay/water interactions are not accounted for. By comparison with GBP values measured in the laboratory on centimetric-sized claystone samples, it is concluded that breakthrough occurs most probably by capillary digitation; micro-cracks are the most probable pathways for gas, so that gas does not progress in a homogeneous manner through the claystone, as standard macroscopic finite element models would represent it. For intact claystone, predictions based on the capillary ingress of a non wetting fluid provide a GBP value ranging between 7-14 MPa.