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Dynamic Leakage of Faults During Differential Depletion: Theory, Models, and Examples from the Niger Delta

WATTS, N. L., C. H. KAARS SIJPESTEIN, L. N. OSAI, and O. C. OKOLI, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria

Previous studies of fault sealing have addressed possible fault leakage during secondary migration due to the effects of increased hydrocarbon-water capillary pressure, fracturing, or small-scale incremental fault movements. Of equal importance to production geologists is the failure and leakage of faults during field development due to differential depletion of adjacent fault blocks. Our paper examines the unique problems associated with this dynamic leakage of faults. It is theoretically shown that the fault sealing mechanism, and the extent of the seal, directly influences the failure process which in turn results in a variety of favorable and unfavorable effects on field development. The qualitative models give considerable insight into such aspects as oil-column expansion and res turation losses, inter-fault block aquifer support (with important implications to material balance calculations), possible leakage or spillage of oil across faults, and potential fault failure during (re)injection projects. Examples of dynamic fault leakage are presented from selected fields of the Niger delta.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91007© 1991 AAPG International Conference, London, England, September 29-October 2, 1991 (2009)