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Type: Journal article
Title: Fracture mapping and modelling in shale-gas target in the Cooper basin, South Australia
Author: Backe, G.
Abul Khair, H.
King, R.
Holford, S.
Citation: Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Journal, 2011; 2011:397-410
Publisher: Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1326-4966
Statement of
G. Backé, H. Khair, R. King and S. Holford
Abstract: The success story of a shale-gas reserve development in the United States is triggering a strong industry focus towards similar plays in Australia. The Cooper Basin (located at the border of South Australia and Queensland) and the Otway Basin (extending both onshore and offshore South Australia and Victoria) could be prime targets to develop shale-gas projects. The Cooper Basin, a late-Carboniferous to mid-Triassic basin, is the largest onshore sedimentary basin producing oil and gas from tight conventional reservoirs with low permeability. Fracture stimulation programs are used extensively to produce the oil and gas. Furthermore, new exploration strategies are now targeting possible commercial gas hosted in low-permeability Permian shale units. To maximise production, the development of shale-gas prospects requires a good understanding of the: 1. structure of the reservoirs; 2. mechanical properties of the stratigraphy; 3. fracture geometry and density; 4. in-situ stress field; and, 5. fracture stimulation strategies. In this study, we use a combination of seismic mapping techniques—including horizon and attribute mapping, and an analysis of wellbore geophysical logs—to best constrain the existing fracture network in the basins. This study is based on the processing and analysis of a 3D seismic cube—the Moomba Big Lake survey—which is located in the southwestern part of the Cooper Basin. This dataset covers an area encompassing both a structurally complex setting in the vicinity of a major fault to the SE of the survey, and an area of more subtle deformation corresponding to the southernmost part of the Nappamerri Trough. Structural fabrics trending ~NW–SE and NE–SW, which are not visible on the amplitude seismic data, are revealed by the analysis of the seismic attributes—namely a similarity (equivalent to a coherency cube), dip steering and maximum curvature attributes. These orientations are similar to those of natural fractures mapped from borehole images logs, and can therefore be interpreted as imaging natural fractures across the Moomba-Big Lake area. This study is the first of its kind able to detect possible fractures from seismic data in the Cooper Basin. The methodology developed here can offer new insights into the structure of sedimentary basins and provide crucial parameters for the development of tight reservoirs. In parallel, a tentative forward model of the generation of a fracture network following a restoration of the Top Roseneath horizon was carried out. The relatively good correlation between the fracture orientations generated by the model and the fractures mapped from geophysical data shows that fractures in the Moomba-Big Lake area may have formed during either a N–S compressive principal horizontal stress, or an E–W compressive principal horizontal tectonic stress regime. In addition, the orientations of the fracture interpreted through this study are also compatible with a generation under the present day stress regime described in this part of the basin, with an maximal horizontal stress trending E–W.
Keywords: Australia
Cooper Basin
shale gas
seismic attributes
image logs
discrete fracture network
Rights: © Media Dynamics 2011
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Australian School of Petroleum publications

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