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Geomechanics and Fracture Analysis

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We present a method of using fault displacement-distance profiles to distinguish fault-bend, shear fault-bend, and fault-propagation folds, and use these insights to guide balanced and retrodeformable interpretations of these structures. We first describe the displacement profiles associated with different end-member fault-related folding models, then provide examples of structures that are consistent with these model-based predictions. Natural examples are imaged in high-resolution two- and three dimensional seismic reflection data sets from the Niger Delta, Sichuan Basin, Sierras Pampeanas, and Cascadia to record variations in displacement with distance updip along faults (termed displacement-distance profiles). Fault-bend folds exhibit constant displacement along fault segments and changes in displacement associated with bends in faults, shear fault-bend folds demonstrate an increase in displacement through the shearing interval, and fault-propagation folds exhibit decreasing displacement toward the fault tip. More complex structures are then investigated using this method, demonstrating that displacement-distance profiles can be used to provide insight into structures that involve multiple fault-related folding processes or have changed kinematic behavior over time. These interpretations are supported by comparison with the kinematics inferred from the geometry of growth strata overlying these structures. Collectively, these analyses illustrate that the displacement-distance approach can provide valuable insights into the styles of fault-related folding.

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The Guadalupe Mountains (USA) expose shelf to basin cross-sections of the Permian Capitan depositional system along 70 km of depositional strike, providing an excellent outcrop analog for studying the processes that generate early fractures within carbonate platform strata.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Assets within the Appalachian Basin range from conventional clastic and carbonate reservoirs to source rocks of Devonian black shale and Pennsylvanian coal, all of which are fractured.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Craquelure, the fine pattern of cracks found in old paintings, presents a rare opportunity to reach beyond the physical sciences for help in understanding a geological process as inscrutable as the development of joints in a fractured reservoir.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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In his classic 1965 GSA Bulletin paper “Origin of ‘Reverse Drag’ on the Downthrown Side of Normal Faults” Hamblin presented a conceptual model linking the formation of reverse drag (the down-warping of hanging wall strata toward a normal fault) to slip on faults with listric (curved, concave up) cross-sectional profiles. Although this model has been widely accepted, some authors have noted that reverse drag may also form in response to slip on planar faults that terminate at depth. A universal explanation for the origin of reverse drag, a common element of extensional terranes, thus remains elusive almost 50 years after Hamblin’s seminal paper on the subject.

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Information on fractured reservoirs is often controversial. Engineers see lost circulation, negative skin and fracture well test signatures. Geologists see only matrix properties in their cores.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
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Earth modeling, from the construction of subsurface structure and stratigraphy, to the accurate understanding of rock physics, through the simulation of seismic and nonseismic responses, is an enabling technology to guide decisions in acquisition, processing, imaging, inversion and reservoir property inference, for both static and time-lapse understanding. So it is crucial to capture those earth elements that most influence the geophysical phenomena we seek to study. This is notoriously difficult, probably because we regularly underestimate how clever the earth can be in producing various geophysical phenomena.

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Using examples from shale reservoirs worldwide, I demonstrate the diversity of shale-hosted fracture systems and present evidence for how and why various fractures systems form. Core and outcrop observations, strength tests on shale and on fractures in core, and geomechanical models allow prediction of fracture patterns and attributes that can be taken into account in well placement and hydraulic fracture treatment design. Both open and sealed fractures can interact with and modify hydraulic fracture size and shape. Open fractures can enhance reservoir permeability but may conduct treatment fluids great distances, in some instances possibly aseismically.

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Natural fractures are a prominent and dramatic feature of many outcrops and are commonly observed in core, where they govern subsurface fluid flow and rock strength. Examples from more than 20 fractured reservoirs show a wide range of fracture sizes and patterns of spatial organization. These patterns can be understood in terms of geochemical and mechanical processes across a range of scales. Fractures in core show pervasive evidence of geochemical reactions; more than is typical of fractures in many outcrops. Accounting for geochemistry and size and size-arrangement and their interactions leads to better predictions of fluid flow.

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Field analogs allow a better characterization of fracture networks to constrain naturally fractured reservoir models. In analogs, the origin, nature, geometry, and other attributes of fracture networks can be determined and can be related to the reservoir through the geodynamic history. In this article, we aim to determine the sedimentary and diagenetic controls on fracture patterns and the genetic correlation of fracture and diagenesis with tectonic and burial history. We targeted two outcrops of Barremian carbonates located on both limbs of the Nerthe anticline (southeastern France). We analyzed fracture patterns and rock facies as well as the tectonic, diagenetic, and burial history of both sites. Fracture patterns are determined from geometric, kinematic, and diagenetic criteria based on field and lab measurements. Fracture sequences are defined based on crosscutting and abutting relationships and compared with geodynamic history and subsidence curves. This analysis shows that fractures are organized in two close-to-perpendicular joint sets (i.e., mode I). Fracture average spacing is 50 cm (20 in.). Fracture size neither depends on fracture orientation nor is controlled by bed thickness. Neither mechanical stratigraphy nor fracture stratigraphy is observed at outcrop scale. Comparing fracture sequences and subsidence curves shows that fractures existed prior to folding and formed during early burial. Consequently, the Nerthe fold induced by the Pyrenean compression did not result in any new fracture initiation on the limbs of this fold. We assume that the studied Urgonian carbonates underwent early diagenesis, which conferred early brittle properties to the host rock.

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In-Person Training
Houston Texas United States 06 April, 2017 07 April, 2017 35075 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/Short-Course-19-Image.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true Conventions, Short Courses, Post-Convention, Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs, Structure, Geomechanics and Fracture Analysis
Houston, Texas, United States
6-7 April 2017

In Conjunction with AAPG 2017 Annual Convention & Exhibition (ACE)
This course is designed to provide the industry geologist and engineer with a working knowledge of fracture characteristics and variability as they affect production in hydrocarbon reservoirs. This is a hands-on, applied course in fracture interpretation, description, analysis, and effects.

Online Training
30 October, 2014 30 October, 2014 11390 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/sc-kerogen-maturity-determinations.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
30 October 2014

Cross disciplinary workflows play an important part of successful characterization of shale reservoirs. This course discusses how the artificial kerogen maturity of organic-rich Green River shale affects the petrophysical, micro-structural, geochemical and elastic properties.

07 June, 2012 07 June, 2012 1488 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-new-production-in-oil-fields.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
7 June 2012

Unger Field, discovered in1955, has produced 8.6 million barrels of oil from a thinly (several ft) bedded, locally cherty dolomite containing vuggy and intercrystalline porosity.

16 February, 2012 16 February, 2012 1483 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-seismically-driven-characterization-of-unconventional-shale-plays.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
16 February 2012

This presentation describes a proven workflow that uses a standard narrow azimuth 3D seismic, conventional logs, image logs and core data to build five key reservoir properties required for an optimal development of shale plays.

12 July, 2012 12 July, 2012 1490 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-shale-wells-making-the-engineering-fit-what-geology-offers.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
12 July 2012

This presentation will look at well placement vertically in the pay, well azimuth and well trajectory with explanations of how geology and post-depositional effects can make the difference between a successful well and a failure.

10 May, 2012 10 May, 2012 1486 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-genetic-sequences-in-eagle-ford-austin.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
10 May 2012

Recognition and Correlation of the Eagle Ford, Austin Formations in South Texas can be enhanced with High Resolution Biostratigraphy, fossil abundance peaks and Maximum Flooding Surfaces correlated to Upper Cretaceous sequence stratigraphic cycle chart after Gradstein, 2010.

09 February, 2012 09 February, 2012 1477 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-seismic-reservoir-characterization-of-us-shales.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
9 February 2012

Projects in several shales will be discussed, including Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Fayetteville, Montney, and Barnett, as will several seismically-detectable drivers for success including lithofacies, stress, pre-existing fractures, and pore pressure.

04 October, 2012 04 October, 2012 1491 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-microseismic-imaging-of-hydraulic-fractures.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
4 October 2012

Effective hydraulic fracture stimulation is critical for shale development, and microseismic is the only technology able to map the growth of these hydraulic fracture networks.

15 March, 2012 15 March, 2012 1484 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-exploring-the-geopressure-risk-in-deep-water-frontier-plays.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
15 March 2012

This e-symposium presents techniques for predicting pore pressure in seals by examining case studies from the Gulf of Mexico and incorporating the relationship between rocks, fluids, stress, and pressure.

29 September, 2011 29 September, 2011 1478 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-application-of-inversion-and-clustering-analysis.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
29 September 2011

This study will focus in the combination of λρ – μρ inversion with clustering analysis techniques in order to discriminate brittle zones in the Barnett Shale.

20 January, 2012 20 January, 2012 1482 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-eagle-ford-shale-prospecting-with-3d-seismic-data.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
20 January 2012

The Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is one of the more exciting shale plays in the United States at the current time.

25 August, 2011 25 August, 2011 1475 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-overview-of-hydraulic-fracturing-mechanics-analysis-and-design.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
25 August 2011

This e-symposium provides highlights of the hydraulic fracturing mechanics, analysis, and design, and is derived from a two and one-half (2-1/2) day course which is designed for drilling, completion, production engineers, engineering technicians, geologists, well-site and completion supervisors, and managers, who desire to possess a comprehensive and integral knowledge of Hydraulic Fracturing.

17 March, 2011 17 March, 2011 1470 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-basic-tools-for-shale-exploration.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
17 March 2011

This e-symposium will provide information on which tools, processes, and procedures all geoscientists, engineers, and technical professionals working in shale plays need to understand and implement.

09 December, 2010 09 December, 2010 1466 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-bakken-petroleum-system-of-the-williston-basin.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
9 December 2010

The Mississippian-Devonian Bakken Petroleum System of the Williston Basin is characterized by low-porosity and permeability reservoirs, organic-rich source rocks, and regional hydrocarbon charge.

21 October, 2010 21 October, 2010 1464 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-evaluating-mature-fields.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
21 October 2010

This e-symposium covers how to conduct an interdisciplinary evaluation of mature fields to determine the best approach to recover remaining reserves.

22 July, 2010 22 July, 2010 1461 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-all-shale-gas-reservoirs-are-not-the-same.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
22 July 2010

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to describe geomechanics in shale reservoirs and discuss differences between plays.

03 June, 2010 03 June, 2010 1460 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-marcellus-utica-in-the-field.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
3 June 2010

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to describe faults and fractures in carbonates, black shales, and coarser clastics as they occur in the northern Appalachian Basin.

25 March, 2010 25 March, 2010 1458 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-mapping-natural-fractures-using-3d-seismic-and-well-data.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
25 March 2010

The presentation describes a well established fracture modeling workflow that uses a standard 3D seismic, conventional logs, image logs and data from one core to build predictive 3D fracture models that are validated with blind wells.

25 January, 2011 25 January, 2011 1454 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-integrating-discipline-data-and-workflows-in-resource-play.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
25 January 2011

This esymposium takes a close look at workflows associated with resource plays, and analyzes where integration must occur between disciplines, data, and workflows at all phases of the process.

14 February, 3000 14 February, 3000 7817 Desktop /Portals/0/PackFlashItemImages/WebReady/oc-es-generic-hero.jpg?width=100&height=100&mode=crop&anchor=middlecenter&quality=75amp;encoder=freeimage&progressive=true
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