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Technical Committee Earth Sciences

Prediction of Tectonic Stresses and Fracture Networks with Geomechanical Reservoir Models

This project evaluates the potential of geomechanical Finite Element (FE) models for the prediction of in situ stresses and fracture networks in faulted reservoirs. Modeling focuses on spatial variations of the in situ stress distribution resulting from faults and contrasts in me-chanical rock properties. In a first methodological part, a workflow is developed for building such geomechanical reservoir models and calibrating them to field data. In the second part, this workflow was applied successfully to an intensively faulted gas reservoir in the North German Basin. A truly field-scale geomechanical model covering more than 400km² was built and calibrated. It includes a mechanical stratigraphy as well as a network of 86 faults. The latter are implemented as distinct planes of weakness and allow the fault-specific evalu-ation of shear and normal stresses. A so-called static model describes the recent state of the reservoir and, thus, after calibration its results reveal the present-day in situ stress distribu-tion. Further geodynamic modeling work considers the major stages in the tectonic history of the reservoir and provides insights in the paleo stress distribution. These results are com-pared to fracture data and hydraulic fault behavior observed today. The outcome of this pro-ject confirms the potential of geomechanical FE models for robust stress and fracture predic-tions. The workflow is generally applicable and can be used for modeling of any stress-sensitive reservoir.

A. Henk, K. Fischer
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