Thermo-Poroelastic Modeling of Reservoir Stimulation and Microseismicity Using Finite Element Method with Damage Mechanics
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Stress and permeability variations around a wellbore and in the reservoir are of much interest in petroleum and geothermal reservoir development. Water injection causes significant changes in pore pressure, temperature, and stress in hot reservoirs, changing rock permeability. In this work, two- and three-dimensional finite element methods were developed to simulate coupled reservoirs with damage mechanics and stress-dependent permeability. The model considers the influence of fluid flow, temperature, and solute transport in rock deformation and models nonlinear behavior with continuum damage mechanics and stress-dependent permeability. Numerical modeling was applied to analyze wellbore stability in swelling shale with two- and three-dimensional damage/fracture propagation around a wellbore and injection-induced microseismic events. The finite element method (FEM) was used to solve the displacement, pore pressure, temperature, and solute concentration problems. Solute mass transport between drilling fluid and shale formation was considered to study salinity effects. Results show that shear and tensile failure can occur around a wellbore in certain drilling conditions where the mud pressure lies between the reservoir pore pressure and fracture gradient. The fully coupled thermo-poro-mechanical FEM simulation was used to model damage/fracture propagation and microseismic events caused by fluid injection. These studies considered wellbore geometry in small-scale modeling and point-source injection, assuming singularity fluid flux for large-scale simulation. Damage mechanics was applied to capture the effects of crack initiation, microvoid growth, and fracture propagation. The induced microseismic events were modeled in heterogeneous geological media, assuming the Weibull distribution functions for modulus and permeability. The results of this study indicate that fluid injection causes the effective stress to relax in the damage phase and to concentrate at the interface between the damage phase and the intact rock. Furthermore, induced-stress and far-field stress influence damage propagation. Cold water injection causes the tensile stress and affects the initial fracture and fracture propagation, but fracture initiation pressure and far-field stress are critical to create a damage/fracture plane, which is normal to the minimum far-field stress direction following well stimulation. Microseismic events propagate at both well scale and reservoir-scale simulation; the cloud shape of a microseismic event is affected by permeability anisotropy and far-field stress, and deviatoric horizontal far-field stress especially contributes to the localization of the microseismic cloud.
Lee, Sang Hoon (2011). Thermo-Poroelastic Modeling of Reservoir Stimulation and Microseismicity Using Finite Element Method with Damage Mechanics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from