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Content archived on 2024-05-24

Incorporation of fault properties in hydrocarbon migration models (INFAMI)


Objectives and problems to be solved:
A major shortcoming of existing modelling systems for basin-scale hydrocarbon migration is that they do not take account of the effects of faults. This project develops a software system that incorporates both the negative and positive effects of faults on migration and accumulation in multiple carrier/reservoir intervals offset by seismically mapped faults. New procedures for predicting the hydraulic properties of faults will be developed and incorporated in the software. Because migration channels are small relative to the spatial resolution of geological data, there is an irreducible element of uncertainty in prediction of fault properties, such as breakthrough pressures and strength. The new methods permit the effects of the residual uncertainties to be quantified by sensitivity studies, and tested by comparing known and predicted hydrocarbon distributions in mature provinces.
Description of work:
The core of the project is the development, implementation and validation of a method for modelling hydrocarbon migration and trapping in faulted sequences with multiple carrier/reservoir units. The method incorporates faults as both barriers and conduits to flow by inclusion of fault properties, such as breakthrough pressures and strengths, in the modelling process. The project extends a modelling methodology defined and implemented in SEMI migration modelling software in a previous EU project. Software development is in two stages, initially incorporating the effects of faults on migration in faulted single carrier unit systems, and later extending the modelling capability to multiple carrier units. The multiple carrier system honours the tortuous flow paths occasioned by discontinuous fault systems, stratigraphic juxtapositions across faults and the property distributions on fault surfaces. At each stage, software developments will be tested by modelling a number of hydrocarbon provinces within the EU. Proceeding in parallel with these system developments is work designed to improve a vital input to migration models, i.e. fault properties. Objective definition of the ranges of property parameters are obtained from examination of published and unpublished empirical databases, numerical modelling of the faulting processes, outcrop studies and migration modelling. Sensitivity of the migration modelling output to the uncertainties in model input parameters are established by comparing results against known types and distributions of hydrocarbon in both mature and immature petroleum provinces.
Expected results and exploitation plans:
The expected result of this project is a software system for modelling hydrocarbon migration in faulted regions. Software for modelling migration in multiple carrier units will be underpinned by an improved knowledge of fault properties in the subsurface and will allow estimation of the sensitivity of hydrocarbon distribution to uncertainty in fault rock properties. Through the development of a new migration modelling methodology this project will enhance exploration capability in both mature and immature provinces. The participation in this project of oil companies that use the SEMI software ensures commercial exploitation of the project results. The anticipated improvements in industry practice arising from the methodologies developed and implemented within the project, will contribute to continued efforts to secure sustained hydrocarbon reserves and to ensure a stability of energy cost within the EU.

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Participants (4)