--> ABSTRACT: Scaling of Fluid Flow Associated with Flow Through Complex Geological Structures, by S. D. Harris, R. Pecher, R. J. Knipe, E. Mcallister, L. Elliott, and D. B. Ingham; #90906(2001)

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S. D. Harris1, R. Pecher1, R. J. Knipe1, E. Mcallister1, L. Elliott2, and D. B. Ingham2

1Rock Deformation Research, School of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
2Dept. of Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

ABSTRACT: Scaling of Fluid Flow Associated with Flow Through Complex Geological Structures

We focus on creating a detailed understanding of the scaling behaviour of fluid flow through volumes containing complex geological structures, i.e. fault and fracture arrays. The correct scaling in such situations is critical to the understanding of fluid flow in hydrocarbon reservoirs, in groundwater systems, waste disposal and in the development of mineralised ore bodies. The results enable the identification, quantification and evaluation of key variables needed for modelling fluid flow in fault zones.

The objectives of this work are to: (i) develop a 3D flow simulator which models the impact of large numbers of structural heterogeneities (densely clustered arrays of faults / fractures acting as either flow retarders or enhancers) under different stress conditions on fluid flow; (ii) provide a means of capturing the micro- and meso-scale flow through complex fault zones, for input, as effective permeability tensors, into conventional simulators modelling macro-scale flow behaviour; (iii) assess the level of detailed geological characterisation and modelling needed before successful upscaling can be achieved and to evaluate the use of statistical parameters to monitor uncertainties in the upscaling. We are focusing on modelling the impact on the flow of established and defined critical structural parameters (e.g. the size, spacing and permeabilities of fault / fracture arrays).

The development of modelling tools for geological domains has followed several approaches, dealing with different levels of structural complexity and linked such that the largest scale model receives ‘upscaled’ input from the smaller scale models of fault damage zones. We now briefly discuss the development of each of these tools.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90906©2001 AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado