Faulting in Middle Jurassic reservoirs occurred at shallow depth during regional extension. Clean sandstones (<15% clay) deformed without significant grain fracturing and permeability reduction. Faults in impure sandstones (15–40% clay) experienced significant syn-deformation compaction and permeability reduction. Enhanced compaction during deeper burial reduced their permeabilities further from an average of ∼0.05 mD at <2.5 km to ∼0.001 mD at >4 km. Clay-rich sediments (>40% clay) deformed to produce clay smears with very low permeabilities (<0.001 mD). Faulting in the Rotliegendes occurred at greater depth during both basin extension and inversion. Extensional faulting produced cataclasites with permeability reductions of <10–>10 6 ; their permeabilities range from 0.2 to 0.0001 mD and are inversely related to their maximum burial depth. Faults formed or reactivated during inversion experienced permeability increase. These results can be extrapolated to other hydrocarbon reservoirs if differences in stress and temperature history are taken into account. The permeability of most (>80%) faults is not sufficiently low, compared to their wallrock, to retard single-phase fluid flow on a km-scale. Nevertheless, most faults could retard the flow of a non-wetting phase if present at low saturations. It may be necessary to incorporate the two-phase fluid flow properties of fault rocks into reservoir simulators using upscaling or pseudoisation techniques. Fault property data should be calibrated against production data before it can be used confidently.
Marine and Petroleum Geology – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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