Elastic dislocation modelling for prediction of small-scale fault and fracture network characteristics
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Predicting the effects of small-scale faults and fractures on reservoir behaviour requires a definition of their spatial distribution, orientation and mode. Elastic dislocation (ED) theory can predict the distribution of displacement, strain and stress in the rock volume surrounding major faults, from mapping of fault geometry and slip distribution in 3D seismic-reflection datasets. The intensity of small-scale faulting can be related to the predicted local strain, or the degree to which the shear stresses exceeded the rock failure envelope. We illustrate the methodology with three case studies: (i) a relatively-simple thrust anticline from Venezuela, where hydrocarbons are trapped in Pliocene sandstones within the faulted hanging wall anticline; (ii) the Gullfaks Field and of the North Sea; and (iii) the Miskar Field, offshore Tunisia, where large seismically mapped normal faults are forward-modelled to predict small-scale fault characteristics for comparison with detailed interpretation and seismic attribute analysis. Key requirements for the development of a robust predictive model of the small-scale fault and fracture network are a geometrically consistent framework model, judicious choice of mechanical properties, and a reasonable estimate of regional background strain.
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