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Permian Rotliegend reservoir rocks are generally characterized by high net/gross (N/G) ratios, and faults in such sand-dominated lithologies are typically not considered likely to seal. Nevertheless, many examples of membrane sealing are present in Rotliegend gas fields in the Southern Permian Basin. This manuscript reviews examples of membrane sealing in the Dutch Rotliegend; it presents an extensive dataset of petrophysical properties of Rotliegend fault rocks and analyses two case studies using commonly used workflows.

Fault (membrane) seal studies have been carried out on two Rotliegend fields to test the level of confidence and uncertainty of prediction of ‘across fault pressure differences’ (AFPD) based on existing SGR-based algorithms. From the field studies it is concluded that observable small AFPDs are present and that these are likely pre-production AFPDs due to exploration-time scale trapping and retention of hydrocarbons. Two shale gouge ratio (SGR)-based empirical algorithms have been used here to estimate AFPDs in lower N/G reservoir intervals with the aim of predicting membrane seal behaviour, and these results are compared to field data. It is concluded the selected SGR-based tools predict AFPD for Upper Rotliegend lower N/G reservoir rocks with reasonable results. Nonetheless, the core sample datasets show a much wider range of permeability and capillary entry pressure than predicted by the selected SGR transforms. This highlights the potential to modify existing workflows for application to faults in high N/G lithologies. Data sharing and collaboration between industry and academics is encouraged, so that in the long run workflows can be developed specifically for faults in high N/G lithologies.

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