Numerical Modeling of the Nonlinear Evolution of Permeability in Naturally Fractured Porous Media

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Nicola Castelletto, Timur Garipov and Hamdi Tchelepi, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
The hydromechanical coupling between fluid flow and geomechanical response plays a key role whenever significant volumes of fluid are injected into the subsurface. An emerging engineering application of this class of problem is represented by CO2 sequestration in deep geological formations. We present a modeling approach to tackle coupled fluid flow and geomechanics in naturally fractured reservoir. The system of partial differential equations is solved using a combination of finite-volume and finite-element discretization schemes, respectively, for the flow and mechanics problems. The model accounts for flow along fractures and can predict fracture reactivation by accurately simulating normal and shear stresses acting on the fracture surfaces. The focus is on the effects induced by changes in the stress field in fracture permeability. The fracture permeability evolution is described by a constitutive model that depends on the tangential displacement that develops between the two contact surfaces defining a fracture, and the effective normal traction, giving rise to a highly non-linear problem. The proposed model is verified against both simple single-fracture test cases and more complex fracture network configurations.