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Postcharge fault reactivation may cause fault seal breach. We present a new methodology for assessment of the risk of reactivation-related seal breach: fault analysis seal technology (FAST). The methodology is based on the brittle failure theory and, unlike other geomechanical methods, recognizes that faults may show significant cohesive strength. The likelihood of fault reactivation, which is expressed by the increase in pore pressure (ΔP) necessary for fault to reactivate, can be determined given the knowledge of the in-situ stress field, fault rock failure envelope, pore pressure, and fault geometry. The FAST methodology was applied to the fault-bound Zema structure in the Otway Basin, South Australia. Analysis of juxtaposition and fault deformation processes indicated that the fault was likely to be sealing, but the structure was found to contain a residual hydrocarbon column. The FAST analysis indicates that segments of the fault are optimally oriented for reactivation in the in-situ stress field. Microstructural evidence of open fractures in a fault zone in the subsurface in an offset well and an SP (self-potential) anomaly associated with a subseismic fault cutting the regional seal in the Zema-1 well support the interpretation that seal breach is related to fracturing.

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