This paper presents a case study of fault reactivation and induced seismicity during multistage hydraulic fracturing in Sichuan Basin, China. The field microseismicity data delineate a fault activated near the toe of the horizontal well. The spatio-temporal characteristics of the microseismicity indicate that the seismic activity on the fault during the first three stages is directly related to the fluid injection, while after Stage 3, the seismic activity is possibly due to the relaxation of the fault. The fault-related events have larger magnitudes and different frequency-magnitude characteristics compared to the fracturing-related events. Three-dimensional (3D) fully coupled distinct element geomechanical modeling for the first two hydraulic fracturing stages and a shut-in stage between them is performed. The modeling result generates features of microseismicity similar to that of the field data. The energy budget analysis indicates that the aseismic deformation consumes a major part of the energy. The simulated fault shear displacement is also consistent with the casing deformation measured in the field. The model is also used to investigate the impact of possible operational changes on expected seismic responses. The results show that lower injection rate and lower fluid viscosity would be helpful in reducing casing deformation but not in mitigating seismicity. Decreasing the total fluid injection volume is an effective way to mitigate the seismicity, but it may hinder the stimulation of the reservoir formation and the production of the well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology