ABSTRACT

Including highly conductive steel infrastructure into electromagnetic (EM) earth modeling is motivated by the fact that long metal-cased boreholes have the potential to be used as boosting antennas that enable larger source dipole moments and greater signal penetration depths. Unfortunately, geophysical algorithms designed to simulate EM responses over rather regional scales are complicated by material property contrasts and structure geometries that are more typical for EM engineering applications. Hence, the great majority of earth-modeling algorithms that consider EM responses from steel-cased boreholes use integral-equation methods. To be able to model complex casing scenarios, we revisited the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method to advance the modeling of transient-EM field responses from steel-cased boreholes. A time-dependent function that allows for larger FDTD time steps in the DuFort-Frankel method was developed, alleviating the generally large computational overhead. We compared our method against three different kinds of benchmark solutions to demonstrate the reliability of the FDTD field solutions. These test cases were carried out to check the feasibility of a final hydraulic fracturing study. Images of the electric current distribution in a sheetlike rock fracture were calculated for the cases with and without the presence of a connecting borehole casing, demonstrating the casing’s potential of illuminating deep target zones.

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