Numerical study of multi-period palaeotectonic stress fields in Lower Cambrian shale reservoirs and the prediction of fractures distribution: A case study of the Niutitang Formation in Feng'gang No. 3 block, South China
Fractures not only control the distribution of oil and gas reservoirs, but also are key points in the research of oil and gas reservoir development programmes. The tectonic fractures in the Lower Cambrian shale reservoirs in the Feng'gang No. 3 block are effective reservoir spaces for hydrocarbon accumulation, and these fractures are controlled by palaeotectonic stress fields. Therefore, quantitatively predicting the development and distribution of tectonic fractures in the Lower Cambrian shale reservoir is important for the exploration and exploitation of shale gas in the Feng'gang No. 3 block. In the present study, a reasonable geological, mechanical and mathematical model of the study area was established based on the faults systems interpreted from seismic data, fracture characteristics from drilling data, uniaxial and triaxial compression tests and experiments on the acoustic emissions (AE) of rocks. Then, a three-dimensional (3-D) finite element method is applied to simulate the palaeotectonic stress field with the superposition of the Yanshan and Himalayan movements and used to predict the fracture distribution. The simulation results indicate that the maximum principal stress value within the study area ranged from 269.97 MPa to 281.18 MPa, the minimum principal stress ranged from 58.29 MPa to 79.64 MPa, and the shear stress value ranged from 91.05 MPa to 106.21 MPa. The palaeotectonic stress field is controlled by the fault zone locations. The fracture development zones are mainly controlled by the tectonic stress fields and are located around the faults, at the end of the fault zones, at the inflection point and at the intersection of the fault zones.
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