Poroelastic model in a vertically sealed gas storage: a case study from cyclic injection/production in a carbonate aquifer
Abstract: SUMMARY Natural gas can be temporarily stored in a variety of underground facilities, such as depleted gas and oil fields, natural aquifers and caverns in salt rocks. Being extensively monitored during operations, these systems provide a favourable opportunity to investigate how pressure varies in time and space and possibly induces/triggers earthquakes on nearby faults. Elaborate and detailed numerical modelling techniques are often applied to study gas reservoirs. Here we show the possibilities and discuss the limitations of a flexible and easily formulated tool that can be straightforwardly applied to simulate temporal pore-pressure variations and study the relation with recorded microseismic events. We use the software POEL (POroELastic diffusion and deformation) which computes the poroelastic response to fluid injection/extraction in a horizontally layered poroelastic structure. We further develop its application to address the presence of vertical impermeable faults bounding the reservoir and of multiple injection/extraction sources. Exploiting available information on the reservoir geometry and physical parameters, and records of injection/extraction rates for a gas reservoir in southern Europe, we perform an extensive parametric study considering different model configurations. Comparing modelled spatiotemporal pore-pressure variations with in situ measurements, we show that the inclusion of vertical impermeable faults provides an improvement in reproducing the observations and results in pore-pressure accumulation near the faults and in a variation of the temporal pore-pressure diffusion pattern. To study the relation between gas storage activity and recorded local microseismicity, we applied different seismicity models based on the estimated pore-pressure distribution. This analysis helps to understand the spatial distribution of seismicity and its temporal modulation. The results show that the observed microseismicity could be partly linked to the storage activity, but the contribution of tectonic background seismicity cannot be excluded.
Keywords: Gas and hydrate systems / Permeability and porosity / Europe / Induced seismicity
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