Abstract

The distribution and orientation of faults, fracture intensity and seismic-reflection characteristics of the Mesaverde Group (Williams Fork and Iles formations) at Mamm Creek Field vary stratigraphically, and with lithology and depositional setting. For the Mesaverde Group, the occurrence of faults and natural fractures is important as they provide conduits for gas migration, and enhance the permeability and productivity of the tight-gas sandstones. The Upper Cretaceous Mesaverde Group represents fluvial, alluvial-plain, coastal-plain and shallow-marine depositional environments.

Structural interpretations based on three-dimensional (3D) seismic-amplitude data, ant-track (algorithm that enhances seismic discontinuities) seismic attributes and curvature attributes are utilized jointly to understand the complex fault characteristics of the Williams Fork Formation. This study reveals that the lowermost lower Williams Fork Formation is characterized by NNW- and east–west-trending small-scale thrust and normal faults. Study suggests that the uppermost lower Williams Fork Formation, and the middle and upper Williams Fork formations, exhibit NNE- and east–west-trending arrays of fault splays that terminate upwards and do not appear to displace the upper Williams Fork Formation. In the uppermost Williams Fork Formation and Ohio Creek Member, NNE-trending discontinuities are displaced by east–west-trending events and the east–west-trending events dominate.

Fracture analysis, based on borehole-image logs, together with ant-track and attenuation-related seismic attributes, illustrates the spatial variability of fracture intensity and lithological controls on fracture distribution. In general, higher fracture intensity occurs within the southern, southwestern and western portions of the field, and fracture intensity is greater within the fluvial sandstone deposits of the middle and upper Williams Fork formations. More than 90% of natural fractures occur in sandstones and siltstones. In situ stress analysis, based on induced-tensile fractures and borehole breakouts, indicates a NNW orientation of present-day maximum horizontal stress (SHmax), an approximate 20° rotation (in a clockwise direction) in the orientation of SHmax with depth and an abrupt stress shift below the Williams Fork Formation within the Rollins Sandstone Member.

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