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UK-based Hurricane Energy was working on a fracture modeling project to inform future well placement decisions for its operations in the West of Shetland. The company specializes in exploring and appraising fractured basement reservoirs.
The area's complex tectonic history, and the logistical difficulties in imaging faults within the basement, meant that traditional fracture-prediction methods proved too challenging to apply. In addition many fault trends are present, and with little well control these are difficult to relate to the known fracture orientations.
Hurricane Energy's exploration team was keen to optimize its 3D model and better understand reservoir faults to deliver the level of structural detail required for accurate fracture prediction. The model needed to closely represent regions of high-fracture density and preferred fracture orientation.
After meeting with Schlumberger, Hurricane Energy decided to use the Fracture Network Modeling module in the Petrel E&P software platform as a geomechanical solution for advanced fracture prediction.
The natural fractures prediction (NFP) process is a form of advanced geomechanical forward modeling, incorporating the 3D iterative boundary element method to identify likely fracture orientation and density, based on well fracture data and the fault model.
In stochastic modeling, properties are often used as spatial probability distributions for the placement of geological features, including channels, porosity distributions, and discrete fracture planes. Using the Fracture Network Modeling module, the major= outputs from the NFP forward modeling are input as fracture probability properties for more accurate distribution. This geomechanical approach increases confidence for future well placement decisions in highly fractured locations.
Such a range of results, covering the full tectonic regime spectrum, confirmed the complexity of the reservoir. The NFP process allowed tectonic event properties to be used to create three independent discrete fracture sets that could be upscaled separately for simulation, each one incorporating the fracture apertures to enable fracture network permeability calculations.
Hurricane Energy has also been using the NFP process to investigate how discrete fracture modeling workflows can be used in a complicated basement setting to inform optimized well placement decisions.
”The NFP process allows us to construct reservoir-scale discrete fracture models whilst accommodating the effects of seismic scale faults on the geometry of the fracture network. Its applications are particularly relevant to layer-bound fracture sets in reservoir volumes where faults have been constrained by 3D seismic and where there is a clear relationship between tectonic stress, faulting, and fracture distribution.”
Dr. Robert Trice, CEO Hurricane Energy