Thermo-hydro-mechanical Analysis of Fractures and Wellbores in Petroleum/Geothermal Reservoirs



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The thesis considers three-dimensional analyses of fractures and wellbores in low-permeability petroleum/geothermal reservoirs, with a special emphasis on the role of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes. Thermoporoelastic displacement discontinuity and stress discontinuity methods are elaborated for infinite media. Furthermore, injection/production-induced mass and heat transport inside fractures are studied by coupling the displacement discontinuity method with the finite element method. The resulting method is then used to simulate problems of interest in wellbores and fractures for related to drilling and stimulation.

In the examination of fracture deformation, the nonlinear behavior of discontinuities and the change in status from joint (hydraulically open, mechanically closed) to hydraulic fracture (hydraulically open, mechanically open) are taken into account. Examples are presented to highlight the versatility of the method and the role of thermal and hydraulic effects, three-dimensionality, hydraulic/natural fracture deformation, and induced micro earthquakes. Specifically, injection/extraction operations in enhanced geothermal reservoirs and hydraulic/thermal stimulation of fractured reservoirs are studied and analyzed with reference to induced seismicity. In addition, the fictitious stress method is used to study three-dimensional wellbore stresses in the presence of a weakness plane. It is shown that the coupling of hydro-thermo-mechanical processes plays a very important role in low-permeability reservoirs and should be considered when predicting the behavior of fractures and wellbores.