Geomechanical impacts on flow in fractured reservoirs

Gary Douglas Couples*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

17 Citations (Scopus)


Flow responses in fractured reservoirs are difficult to predict. Apparent success in predicting flow has been achieved by developing simple rules of thumb based on (i) alterations of effective stress associated with pore pressure changes or (ii) concepts about fracture aperture alterations due to stress changes. Here it is argued that the assumptions underlying these explanations of flow are flawed, as they are based on ideas about stress that are physically wrong. It may be that these simple ideas can be fitted to some observations, but their use in this fashion is highly risky. The role of geomechanics in fractured reservoirs is more complex than suggested by the simple rules of thumb, as illustrated by numerical simulations that demonstrate the occurrence of strong non-linear interactions between the fluids, the geomechanics of blocky systems, and thermal changes. The resulting movements within fractured rock masses can cause major alterations of the upscaled flow properties. Flow performance discrepancies that are often associated with the operation of fractured reservoirs can, and often should, be seen as a consequence of motions occurring within the fractured rock mass. The explanations developed here are phenomenologically correct, and are more holistic than existing simple rules of thumb, improving the reliability of predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in the Study of Fractured Reservoirs
EditorsG.H. Spence, J. Redfern, R. Aguilera, T.G. Bevan, J.W. Cosgrove, G.D. Couples, J.-M. Daniel
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherGeological Society of London
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781862393554
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameGeological Society of London Special Publications
PublisherGeological Society of London
ISSN (Print)0305-8719
ISSN (Electronic)2041-4927

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geology


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