Architectural Characteristics and Distribution of Hydromechanical Properties within a Small Strike-Slip Fault Zone in a Carbonates Reservoir: Impact on fault stability, induced seismicity, and leakage during CO2 injection

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Frederic Cappa1, Pierre Jeanne2, Yves Guglielmi3 and Antonio Pio Rinaldi2, (1)GeoAzur, Valbonne, France, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, (3)Aix Marseille University, Marseille Cedex 03, France
Within the LSBB National Underground Research Laboratory (France), we performed an in situ multidisciplinary and multi-scale analysis of a small fault zone intersecting a layered carbonates reservoir. The study area is located in a gallery at 250 m depth in the unsaturated and unaltered zone of the reservoir. In order to study the distribution of the fault zone properties, we took advantage of the gallery wall and of three vertical 20 m long boreholes located near the fault core, in the damage zone, and in the host rock. Geological, petrophysical (porosity observations and measurements), geotechnical (Q-value) and geophysical measurements (acoustic velocities, uniaxial compressive strength, electrical resistivity, borehole logging), and injection tests were conducted at various scales. We show that horizontal and vertical variations in hydromechanical properties within the damage zone are related to the initial petrophysical properties of the host rock. In the initial low-porosity and fractured layers, the deformations are accommodated by fractures and micro-cracks extending significantly from the fault core. In these layers, the Young modulus of the rock mass (Em) is low and the permeability of the rock mass (Km) is high. In the initial porous and low fractured layers, deformations are accommodated by micro-mechanical processes resulting in a decrease in micro-porosity near the fault core. There is a rapid attenuation of the damage zone. In these layers, Em is high and Km is low. The seismic signature of this kind of fault is complex and the seismic visibility low making them hard to detect. Finally, to assess fault zone stability in case of CO2 injection and the risk of CO2 leakage through the fault itself, we performed some geomechanical numerical simulations and some field hydromechanical tests. We show that the presence of hydromechanical heterogeneity favors the fluid accumulation but strengthen the fault zone and impede fluid migration upward along the fault.