53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium,
New York City, New York
2019. American Rock Mechanics Association
1 in the last 30 days
45 since 2007
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ABSTRACT: Underground gas storage (UGS) is a practice that is becoming widely implemented to cope with seasonal peaks of gas consumption. When the target reservoir is located in a faulted basin, a major safety issue concerns the reactivation of pre-existing faults, possibly inducing (micro-) seismicity. Faults are reactivated when the shear stress exceeds the limiting acceptable strength. It has been observed in The Netherlands that this occurrence can happen “unexpectedly” during the life of a UGS reservoir, i.e. when the actual stress regime is not expected to reach the failure condition. A numerical analysis by a 3D FE-IE elasto-plastic geomechanical simulator has been carried out to cast light in this respect, by investigating the mechanisms and the critical factors that can be responsible for a fault reactivation during the various stages of UGS in reservoirs located in the Rotliegend formation. The model outcomes show that the settings (in terms of reservoir and fault geometry, geomechanical parameters, and pressure change distribution) more prone to fault activation during primary production are also the most critical ones during cushion gas injection and UGS cycles.
Because of the importance of natural gas for energy production, the interest to develop underground gas storage (UGS) projects is continuously increasing worldwide. In May 2015, 268 UGS facilities existed or were planned in Europe and over 400 in the USA. UGS is traditionally used to ensure a relatively smooth delivery from gas reservoirs to the gas consumption pattern dictated by daily and seasonal oscillations. The hazard and risk associated with subsurface gas storage are a recurrent issue whenever a new UGS is planned. Many different aspects are involved, such as formation integrity, health and safety as related to public perception, economic risk, and environmental impacts. Among the latter, the geomechanical effects induced by seasonal gas injection and withdrawal may play a very important role.
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