A Review of Current Knowledge with Geomechanical Fault Reactivation Modelling: The Importance of CO2 Mechano-Chemical Effects for CO2 Sequestration

Altaf, Iftikhar (The University of Queensland) | Towler, Brian (The University of Queensland) | Underschultz, James (The University of Queensland) | Hurter, Suzanne (The University of Queensland) | Johnson, Raymond (The University of Queensland)

OnePetro 

A fault stability study constitutes a fundamental element of any subsurface injection project that involves faults within a storage complex, yet the transient geomechanical effects introduced due to CO2-rock chemical interactions are rarely considered. This paper presents a review of the published work investigating the potential alteration of rock properties due to short to long term CO2-host rock chemical interactions during commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) operations. Furthermore, the authors of this paper are attempting to highlight the potential significance of these mechanical-chemical effect on the fault reactivation potential for a commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) operation.

The reactive nature between CO2 dissolved in formation water and the storage reservoir can significantly alter the hydraulic and mechanical properties of the host rock, which could in turn affect the storage potential of the target reservoir. Alteration of the host rock mineralogy due to chemical interactions with CO2 have been well studied (Farquhar et al. 2015), but little is available in the published literature on the resulting changes in rock elastic properties (i.e. Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio) due to these reactions. Some recent experimental studies have suggested significant changes in rock properties occur. When we incorporated the geomechanical effects, induced by the rock elastic property changes documented in these published cases, into both 1D analytical and 3D numerical models based fault stability analyses for a Surat Basin reservoir, we observed significant modification of the reservoir storage capacity prior to reaching fault reactivation criteria.

Based on our review of the published literature and our fault stability analyses, we conclude that the chemical effects of CO2 interaction with host rock needs to be experimentally tested to confirm if these effects are significant. If yes, then these effects should constitute an integral part of the geomechanical study for any large scale CO2 injection exercise if there is a critically stressed fault as part of the storage complex.