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John Comer1, Anthony J. Park2, Dorothy F. Payne2, Kagan Tuncay2, Peter J. Ortoleva2
(1) Indiana Geological Survey, Bloomington, IN
(2) Lab. for Computational Geodynamics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Abstract: Fracture Prediction with a 3-D Finite Element Diagenetic, Hydrologic, Mechanical Model

Prediction of the location and characteristics of fractures in the subsurface is demonstrated using a unique 3-D basin model, Basin RTM. Fracture networks arise out of the competition or cooperation of a number of now well-established factors: stress, fluid pressure, rock mineralogy and texture, and thermal history. Thus, to predict fractures, one must coevolve all these factors. As a result, we are able to illustrate the role of various geological factors on the present-day distribution and effects of fractures. The factors we shall discuss include basin thermal, overall tectonic, and deposition/erosion history as well as heat flux and sea level.

We illustrate fracture prediction with Basin RTM in the Piceance Basin (Colorado). We show both field- and basin-scale simulations. The results show the coordinated dynamics of methane generation and migration with fracturing, faulting and spatially and temporally varying thermal regimes. Results are compared with observations at the MWX site and in the Rulison and other fields. We then conjecture as to the producible natural gas reserves in less developed areas and formations within the Piceance Basin. We comment on the future applications of our fracture prediction technology to other basins.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana