Zhao, Kai (Xi’an Shiyou University and Shanxi Key Laboratory of Advanced Stimulation Technology for Oil & Gas Reservoirs) | Li, Xiaorong (University of Texas at Austin) | Yan, Chuanliang (China University of Petroleum, East China) | Feng, Yongcun (The University of Texas at Austin) | Dou, Liangbin (Xi’an Shiyou University) | Li, Jing (China University of Petroleum, East China)
Fault reactivation caused by reservoir depletion has been an important issue faced by the oil and gas industry. Traditional views suggest that with reservoir depletion, only normal faults can be activated and fault stability either monotonically decreases or increases, which are not consistent with field observations. In this paper, a fault-sliding-potential (FSP) model was developed to analyze fault stability during reservoir depletion for different types of faults. The evolution trend of fault stability with reservoir depletion and the corresponding judging criteria were obtained by calculating the derivatives of FSP. The influences of reservoir depletion on nonsealing and sealing faults were investigated. Case studies were performed to analyze FSP for different types of nonsealing and sealing faults with different fault properties and attitudes. The results show that reverse and strike faults might also be reactivated with reservoir depletion. The fault stability might not monotonically decrease or increase; instead, four evolution patterns of fault stability might occur, with reservoir depletion dependent on the parameters of the faults. Reservoir depletion usually leads to a higher sliding risk for sealing faults than for nonsealing faults. The results also indicate that fault stability is a strong function of fault attitudes, including the dip and strike of the fault.