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Impact of Cenozoic structural development and glacial erosion on gas expansion, hydraulic fracturing and leakage in the Western Barents Sea area

Uplift and extensive glaciations during the late Pliocene-Pleistocene led to large volumes of sediments being eroded from continental shelf areas and deposited on the continental slopes (Laberg et al. 2010).

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These redistributions have led to uplift and tilting of underlying traps due to large-mass movements on the continental margins and have clearly affected the underlying hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, key questions that remain unresolved today are

  1. Have the Cenozoic uplift and erosion events of the western Barents Sea caused gas expansion and leakage?
  2. Where did they occur and at which order of magnitude?
  3. How much petroleum has leaked and how much is left?

To address these questions, available erosion models (from industry partners and public domain) will be used as input for both water fluid pressure modelling and hydrocarbon migration modelling. We propose to use Griffith-Coulomb and frictional sliding criteria for calculating hydraulic fracturing of cap-rocks in order to consistently model leakage of both hydrocarbon and water fluid phases with respect to several erosion and uplift episodes. Further, we will incorporate the effects of ice loading in periods of glaciations. The effect of loading and unloading on rock mechanical parameters will be addressed. Monte-Carlo type simulations will be performed for investigating the probabilities of erosion histories and their consequences on the hydrocarbon systems. In the proposed approach we use a consistent model set up for both pressure and migration modelling scenarios, i.e. same burial and erosion histories, temperature models, cap rock failure criteria will be applied using SINTEF’s in-house developed state-of-the-art basin modelling tools SEMI and SEMI-Pressim.

Sponsor: ENI

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Project duration

01/01/2013 - 01/01/2016

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