University of Texas at Austin

Hydrogeology: Fluid Budget Protocols, Data and Analysis

Synopsis: Develop methods, compilations and analyses of injected fluids within sedimentary basins of Texas beginning with the Ft. Worth Basin

Project Status: active

Funding Source: 100% TexNet

Research Leaders: JP Nicot, Casee Lemons, Peter Hennings

Project Start: 2Q2016

Project Interface: Project interfaces closely with Faults and Geomodels, Basin-Scale Assessment of Fault Reactivation and Seismicity Potential, Geomechanics of Fault Reactivation, Pore Pressure Analysis of Ft. Worth Basin, Coupled Fluid Flow and Geomechanical Modeling, Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment - Shaking Intensity, and Multi-Institutional and Industrial Collaboration for Geomechanical and Seismicity Assessment of the Ft. Worth Basin

Expected research outcomes:

  • Fluid injection protocols
  • Spatial and temporal compilations of fluid injection data and maps
  • Hydrologic models and pore pressure predictions of key project areas

It is a widely prevailing belief throughout the field of induced seismicity that a significant and sustained increase in pore fluid pressure can trigger fault reactivation on suitable faults and cause seismicity. Therefore it is critical that robust fluid pressure analyses be conducted for subsurface areas where there is a desire to better understand triggered seismicity hazard and risk. Both the withdrawal and injection of fluids can results in pore pressure changes and cause fault reactivation and seismicity but reactivation due to injection is seen to have a more profound effect in areas of the U.S. mid-continent and in north and west Texas. This project has 3 principal components (tasks): development of fluid injection data protocols, generation of injection volume compilations, and pore pressure estimations via hydrologic modeling.

Obtaining and utilizing public and proprietary fluid injection data is a cumbersome and tedious task fraught with issues of data incompleteness and inconsistency. The first task in this project is to develop robust Fluid Injection Data Protocols which will provide a roadmap for researchers and research customers to follow to efficiently obtain and organize fluid injection data. We will assess if it is prudent to develop a fluid injection dashboard from which users can obtain organized data by well, area and time period. The second task is to produce quality-controlled Datasets of Injection by region and zone in Texas that can be used to assess total volumes over given time periods, scrutinize injection by zone and area, make appropriate maps, and for input to other TexNet-CISR projects. The collected data also will include injection intervals and the permeability characteristics of the injection horizon and surrounding intervals. The third and most intensive task of this project is to develop Hydrologic Flow Models of key injection/seismicity areas to assess the degree of injection zone lateral and vertical connectivity and predict pore pressure at key time steps. As available, this hydrologic modeling will leverage geological models developed in other TexNet-CISR projects as key framework and reservoir property inputs. Flow modeling will commence in the Ft. Worth Basin in 4Q106 and move to areas of the Permian Basin in 2017.

CISR Hydrology

CISR Hydrology Project schedule: click to see larger image.