Three-dimensional (3-D) coupled deformation and fluid-flow numerical modeling are used to simulate the response of a relatively complex set of trap-bounding faults to extensional reactivation and to investigate hydrocarbon preservation risk for structural traps in the offshore Bonaparte Basin (Laminaria High, the Timor Sea, Australian North West Shelf).

The model results show that the distributions of shear strain and dilation as well as fluid flux are heterogeneous along fault planes inferring lateral variability of fault seal effectiveness. The distribution of high shear strain is seen as the main control on structural permeability and is primarily influenced by the structural architecture. Prereactivation fault size and distribution within the modeled fault population as well as fault corrugations driven by growth processes represent key elements driving the partitioning of strain and up-fault fluid flow. These factors are critical in determining oil preservation during the late reactivation phase on the Laminaria High.

Testing of the model against leakage indicators defined on 3-D seismic data correlates with the numerical prediction of fault seal effectiveness and explains the complex distribution of paleo- and preserved oil columns in the study area.

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