Fault slippage and its permeability evolution during supercritical CO2 fracturing in layered formation
School of Geoscience and Technology, Southwest Petroleum University, 610500 Chengdu, PR China
2 State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 430071 Wuhan, PR China
3 State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, Southwest Petroleum University, 610500 Chengdu, PR China
4 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049 Beijing, PR China
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 18 September 2019
Understanding the hydromechanical responses of faults during supercritical CO2 fracturing is important for reservoir management and the design of energy extraction systems. As small faults are widespread in Chang 7 member of the Yanchang Formation, Ordos Basin, China, supercritical CO2 fracturing operation has the potential to reactive these undetected small faults and leads to unfavorable fracking fluid migrate. In this work, we examined the role of fault slippage and permeability evolution along a small fault connecting the pay zone and the confining formation during the whole process of fracturing and production. A coupled hydromechanical model conceptualized from actual engineering results was introduced to address the main concerns of this work, including, (1) whether the existence of a undetected small fault would effectively constrain the hydraulic fracture height evolution, (2) what the magnitude of the induced microseismic events would be and (3) whether the permeability change along the fault plane would affect the vertical conductivity of the confining formation and thus increase the risk for the fracturing fluid to leak. Our results have shown that the initial hydrofracture formed at the perforation and propagated upward, once it merged with the fault surface, the existence of an undetected small fault would effectively constrain the hydraulic fracture height evolution. As fracturing continued, further slippage spread from the permeability increase zone of high permeability to shallower levels, and the extent of this zone was dependent on the magnitude of the fault slippage. At the end of extraction, the slip velocity decreases gradually to zero and the fault slippage finally reaches stabilization. In general, undetected small faults in targeted reservoir may not be the source of large earthquakes. The induced microseismic events could be considered as the sources of acoustic emission events detected while monitoring the fracturing fluid front. Due to the limited fault slippage and lower initial permeability, the CO2 fracturing operation near undetected small faults could not conduct preferential pathway for upward CO2 leakage or contaminate overlying shallower potable aquifers.
© X. Wei et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2019
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