ABSTRACT The reduction of fluid pressure during reservoir production promotes changes in the effective and total stress distribution within the reservoir and the surrounding strata. This stress evolution is responsible for many problems encountered during production (e.g. fault reactivation, casing deformation). This work presents the results of an extensive series of 3D numerical hydro-mechanical coupled analyses that study the influence of reservoir geometry and material properties on the reservoir stress path. The stress path is defined in terms of parameters that quantify the amount of stress arching and stress anisotropy that occur during reservoir production. The coupled simulations are performed by explicitly coupling independent commercial geomechanical and flow simulators. It is shown that stress arching is important in reservoirs with low aspect ratios that are less stiff than the bounding material. In such cases, the stresses will not significantly evolve in the reservoir, and stress evolution occurs in the over- and sideburden. Stiff reservoirs, relative to the bounding rock, exhibit negligible stress arching regardless of the geometry. Stress anisotropy reduces with reduction of the Young's modulus of the bounding material, especially for low aspect ratio reservoirs, but as the reservoir extends in either or both of the horizontal directions, the reservoir deforms uniaxially and the horizontal stress evolution is governed by the Poisson's ratio of the reservoir. Furthermore, the effect of the stress path parameters is introduced in the calculation of pore volume multiplier tables to improve non-coupled simulations, which otherwise overestimate the average reservoir pore pressure drawdown when stress arching is taking place.
- © 2011 EAGE/Geological Society of London