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Geomechanical modelling to assess fault integrity at the CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia

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This paper presents the first published 3D geomechanical modelling study of the CO2CRC Otway Project, located in the state of Victoria, Australia. The results of this work contribute to one of the main objectives of the CO2CRC, which is to demonstrate the feasibility of CO2 storage in a depleted gas reservoir. With this aim in mind, a one-way coupled flow and geomechanics model is presented, with the capability of predicting changes to the in situ stress field caused by changes in reservoir pressure owing to CO2 production and injection. A parametric study investigating the pore pressures required to reactivate key, reservoir-bounding faults has been conducted, and the results from the numerical simulation and analytical analysis are compared. The numerical simulation indicates that the critical pore fluid pressure to cause fault reactivation is 1.15 times the original pressure as opposed to 1.5 times for the comparable analytical model. Possible reasons for the differences between the numerical and analytical models can be ascribed to the higher degree of complexity incorporated in the numerical model. Heterogeneity in terms of lateral variations of hydrological and mechanical parameters, effect of topography, presence of faults and interaction between cells are considered to be the main sources for the different estimation of critical pore pressure. The numerical model, which incorporates this greater complexity, is able then to better describe the state of stress that acts in the subsurface compared with a simple 1D analytical model. Moreover, the reactivation pressures depend mainly on the state of stress described; therefore we suggest that numerical models be performed when possible.
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Keywords: carbon capture and storage; fault stability; flow modelling; geomechanics; pore pressure prediction; reservoir simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Technical University Darmstadt—Institut for Applied Geosciences, Schnittspahnstrasse 9, Darmstadt, 64287, Germany 2: Schlumberger Information Solutions, Bracknell, UK 3: Geoscience Australia, GPO Box 378 Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia

Publication date: October 3, 2014

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