Using mechanical models to investigate the controls on fracture geometry and distribution in chalk
Published:January 01, 2015
Michael J. Welch, Christine Souque, Russell K. Davies, Rob J. Knipe, 2015. "Using mechanical models to investigate the controls on fracture geometry and distribution in chalk", Fundamental Controls on Fluid Flow in Carbonates: Current Workflows to Emerging Technologies, S. M. Agar, S. Geiger
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Chalk is an important reservoir rock. However, owing to its low permeability, fractures are key to producing hydrocarbons from chalk reservoirs. Fractures in chalk usually form one of three geometric patterns: localized fractures (commonly concentric rings) developed around tips, bends and splays in larger faults; regularly spaced regional fracture sets; and fracture corridors comprising narrow zones of closely spaced parallel fractures. Localized fracture patterns are likely to give only local permeability enhancement; regional fracture sets and, especially, fracture corridors may provide long, high-permeability flow pathways through the chalk. Field mapping shows that both localized fracture patterns and fracture corridors often nucleate around larger faults; however, the fracture corridors rapidly propagate away from the faults following the regional stress orientation. It is therefore not necessary to know the detailed fault geometry to predict the geometry of the fracture corridors, although the fault density can help to predict the spacing of the fracture corridors. Mechanical modelling shows that while localized fracture patterns can form under normal fluid pressure conditions as a result of local stress anomalies around fault bends, tips and splays, fracture corridors can only form under conditions of fluid overpressure. Once they nucleate, they will continue to propagate until they either intersect another fault or the fluid pressure in them is dissipated.
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Fundamental Controls on Fluid Flow in Carbonates: Current Workflows to Emerging Technologies
This volume highlights key challenges for fluid-flow prediction in carbonate reservoirs, the approaches currently employed to address these challenges and developments in fundamental science and technology. The papers span methods and case studies that highlight workflows and emerging technologies in the fields of geology, geophysics, petrophysics, reservoir modelling and computer science. Topics include: detailed pore-scale studies that explore fundamental processes and applications of imaging and flow modelling at the pore scale; case studies of diagenetic processes with complementary perspectives from reactive transport modelling; novel methods for rock typing; petrophysical studies that investigate the impact of diagenesis and fault-rock properties on acoustic signatures; mechanical modelling and seismic imaging of faults in carbonate rocks; modelling geological influences on seismic anisotropy; novel approaches to geological modelling; methods to represent key geological details in reservoir simulations and advances in computer visualization, analytics and interactions for geoscience and engineering.