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Book Chapter

Fractures in Carbonates: From Digital Outcrops to Mechanical Models

By
Paul Gillespie
Paul Gillespie
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Erik Monsen
Erik Monsen
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Laurent Maerten
Laurent Maerten
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David Hunt
David Hunt
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John Thurmond
John Thurmond
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Dean Tuck
Dean Tuck
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

Prediction of fractures in carbonate reservoirs represents a very significant challenge. We describe the use of a digital outcrop analogue from faulted and jointed Lower Jurassic rocks from Somerset, U.K., that provides exceptional exposure of fractured carbonates. The aims were to gather high-resolution and exact information about the fracture systems and to understand the mechanics of the fracture development. A 2.5 km section of coastline was digitally captured and built into a high-resolution photorealistic model. Faults were hand interpreted in an immersive virtual reality environment. A line sample of the faults in the photorealistic model compares well with a similar line sample taken in the field.

The photorealistic data also include large bedding-plane exposures of joint systems. The joints were extracted semi-automatically using a combination of image curvature and ant tracking; ground-truthing of the resulting joint map confirms the validity of the interpretation. By using this semi-automatic technique it is possible to digitize far more joints than would be possible for a human interpreter.

The detailed fracture data provide a rich source of data for modelling of fracture systems. However, in order to be predictive in the subsurface, it is not sufficient to have a purely statistical fracture description and so we turn to mechanical modelling. On the assumption that the joint system formed in the perturbed stress system around pre-existing faults, we performed boundary element modelling and were able to match to the joint system in the photorealistic model using an extensional stress regime and fluid-pressure perturbations along the fault plane.

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Contents

SEPM Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology

Outcrops Revitalized: Tools, Techniques and Applications

Ole J. Martinsen
Ole J. Martinsen
Statoil Exploration
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Andrew J. Pulham
Andrew J. Pulham
ESACT
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Peter D.W. Haughton
Peter D.W. Haughton
University College Dublin
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Morgan D. Sullivan
Morgan D. Sullivan
Chevron Energy Technology Company
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
10
ISBN electronic:
9781565763067
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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