Geomechanical Model of a Gas Field for Seismic Risk Analysis

Berentsen, Cas (Fenix Consulting Delft BV) | de Pater, Cornelis (Fenix Consulting Delft BV) | Nieuwland, Ferry (Vermilion Energy BV)



The Slootdorp field has a complex structure with most reserves in Rotliegend sandstone, which is communicating with gas bearing Zechstein carbonates. The Rotliegend reservoir is bounded by a large fault, which might become seismogenic during depletion. A 3D geomechanical model was built, based on the faults and horizons in the geological model. Both the Rotliegend and Zechstein reservoirs were included in the model. The model was populated with geomechanical properties derived from logs, LOT's (leak off tests) and regional data on the stress field. Also, overburden properties from previous studies on nearby fields were used.

The pressure input was obtained from reservoir simulation. It is important to include the water leg pressure in the pressure input since the Rotliegend gas reservoir is in contact with an active aquifer. Pressure reduction drives the compaction of the reservoir, which induces stresses on the faults causing slippage. Since the water is quite incompressible, a large pressure reduction in the water leg may be caused temporarily by a rising gas water contact.

It turned out that slippage is not expected at the lowest gas pressure using a conservative estimate of the critical friction coefficient on the fault of 0.55. Sensitivity analysis on the most important input parameters was performed with a range that can be expected for such a field. The result was that the maximum critical stress ratio could range between 0.46 and 0.53 for the expected uncertainty of input parameters. The geomechanical modeling shows that an active aquifer has a dominant, mitigating effect on seismic risk, which can explain why many reservoirs show no seismicity in the Netherlands, although other effects could also play a role.