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Reservoir leakage along concentric faults in the Southern North Sea: implications for the deployment of CCS and EOR techniques

Ward, Nicholas ORCID:, Alves, Tiago Marcos ORCID: and Blenkinsop, Thomas G. ORCID: 2016. Reservoir leakage along concentric faults in the Southern North Sea: implications for the deployment of CCS and EOR techniques. Tectonophysics 690 (A) , pp. 97-116. 10.1016/j.tecto.2016.07.027

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High-quality 3D seismic and borehole data in the Broad Fourteens Basin, Southern North Sea, is used to investigate newly recognised concentric faults formed in salt-withdrawal basins flanking reactivated salt structures. Throw-depth and throw-distance plots were used to understand the growth histories of individual faults. As a result, three families of concentric faults are identified: a) intra-seal faults within a salt-withdrawal basin, b) faults connecting the seal and the reservoir on the crest of an inverted anticline, c) raft-bounding faults propagating into reservoir units. They have moved obliquely and show normal throws, even though they formed during a period of regional compression. Faults in the salt-withdrawal basin and on the inverted anticline are highly segmented, increasing the chances of compartmentalisation or localised fluid flow through fault linkages. Slip tendency analysis was carried out on the distinct fault families to compare the likelihood of slip along a fault at different pore fluid pressures and within different lithologies. Our results show that sections of the faults are optimally oriented with regards to maximum horizontal stresses (σHmax), increasing the slip tendency. The identified faults cut through a variety of lithologies, allowing different values of pore fluid pressures to build up before faults reactivate. Within the Vlieland Sandstones, pore fluid pressures of 30 MPa are not sufficient to reactivate pre-existing faults, whereas in the deeper Posidonia Shales faults might reactivate at pore fluid pressures of 25 MPa. Fluid flow features preferentially occur near fault segments close to failure. Heterogeneity in slip tendency along concentric faults, and high degrees of fault segmentation, present serious hazards when injecting CO2 into the subsurface. This study stresses the importance of high-quality 3D seismic data and the need to evaluate individual fault systems when investigating potential reservoirs for carbon capture and storage and enhanced oil recovery.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0040-1951
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council, Cardiff University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 August 2016
Date of Acceptance: 25 July 2016
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 13:20

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