The impact of diagenesis precipitation on fracture permeability in naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs

Faisal Awad Aljuboori, Jang Hyun Lee, Khaled A. Elraies, Karl D. Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs are often described as very heterogeneous systems due to the carbonate depositional environment and to the subsequent diagenesis processes such as mineral precipitation in fractures. Fluid flow behaviour in fractures is highly influenced by the fracture aperture size and its morphology. Mineral precipitation can alter the fracture effectiveness to the fluid flow and cause a partial or entire blockage of fractures. Therefore, accurate characterisation of the fracture morphology can help to enhance the prediction of the fluid flow behaviour in naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs. Mineral precipitation on fracture walls can reduce the fracture aperture significantly. As a result, the fracture permeability affected notably, which reduces the flow potential through fractures as well as changes the flow pattern. The objective of this work is to predict the flow behaviour in fractures under various levels of mineral precipitation to mimic reality. We have approached this objective by using outcrop-based models supported by a set of rock and fluid properties of a nearby fractured formation. Then, the model tested for the gas flow using the derivative plot technique of the synthetic well testing data. The simulation results have shown that mineral cementation can cause a partial blockage in fractures, hence a reduction in their flow capacity, as fractures become a less conductive medium. Nevertheless, the matrix medium can enhance the fluid flow in fractures by providing a bypass path to the fluid to overcome the sealed fractures. In this work, a formula has concluded to estimate the reduction in fracture permeability based on the fraction of the precipitated cement. In the studied formation, the core description has shown that 34% of fractures were blocked, which can lead to a reduction in the permeability by 29–64% and by 37–83% with and without matrix contribution, respectively. Thus, including the fracture morphology in the simulation model enables us to predict the performance of fractured carbonate reservoirs accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalCarbonates and Evaporites
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Carbonate diagenesis
  • Fracture modelling
  • Fractures morphology
  • Geological well testing
  • Partially cemented fractures
  • Permeability reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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