Fast: A New Technique for Geomechanical Assessment of the Risk of Reactivation-related Breach of Fault Seals
Scott D. Mildren, Richard R. Hillis, Paul J. Lyon, Jeremy J. Meyer, David N. Dewhurst, Peter J. Boult, 2005. "Fast: A New Technique for Geomechanical Assessment of the Risk of Reactivation-related Breach of Fault Seals", Evaluating Fault and Cap Rock Seals, Peter Boult, John Kaldi
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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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This volume constitutes the proceedings of the AAPG Hedberg conference on seals held in Barossa Valley, South Australia, in 2002. The key driver for both the Hedberg conference and this publication was the recognition that knowledge of risk in the estimation of sealing capacity and fault-seal potential is important in making judgments at the exploration, appraisal, and development stages of the petroleum business. In addition, incorporating seal risk in the overall assessment of hydrocarbons in place can affect decisions to drill prospects and the location of appraisal and development wells, as well as reserve estimation. Improved methods to estimate seal capacity and fault integrity can lead to savings in well costs, improved recoveries through optimum placement of wells, and improved estimates of hydrocarbon in place. This volume contains 18 chapters that reflect the spectrum of presentations at the conference. The knowledge imparted by these chapters will be a window on the state of seal knowledge at this juncture of time and includes topics such as seal failure related to basin-scale processes, the role of geomechanics in seals, and the economic evaluation of prospects with a top seal risk.