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ABSTRACT: Assessment of Fracture-Induced Anisotropy in the Austin Chalk Formation (Upper Cretaceous), Central Texas

Don A. Edwards

This study relates geophysical and geological data to the detection of fractures and their influence on the movement of fluid in the Atco Member of the Austin Chalk in central Texas. In areas of production, the Austin Chalk has very low matrix permeabilities, with hydrocarbons confined to zones of near-vertical, stress-aligned fractures. Horizontal drilling has been estimated to increase per well reserves in the Austin Chalk from 75,000 bbl and 82 mmcf to 500,000 bbl and 500 mmcf. The objective of deviated wells in the Austin Chalk is to intersect at right angles as many of the hydrocarbon-prone fracture zones as possible. Therefore, the detection and description of these fracture zones prior to drilling is critical.

Fractures have been proven to influence the velocities of shear waves. To assess shear wave velocities in different directions, several shear wave refraction and three-component vertical seismic profiles have been acquired. These data provided a measure of the fracture- induced shear wave anisotropy and an indication of the dominant fracture trend. Other data, including azimuthal resistivity surveys, cores, and aerial photographs, provided additional control for evaluating the fractures. The final phase of the study compares the geophysical and geological interpretations to the results of shallow groundwater pumping tests. The pumping tests have been conducted in vertical boreholes and were designed to evaluate the influence of the fracturing on fluid movement.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91003©1990 AAPG Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, June 3-6, 1990