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Constricted hydraulic fracture opening

This project develops experimentally verified models for the design and monitoring of hydraulic fractures with constricted openings to ensure adequate and robust hydraulic fracture control. The results are expected to substantially increase the accuracy of design and monitoring of fracture openings, geometry and fluid flow, which will improve efficiency, safety and environmental security of the resource and energy extraction.

Funded by: Australian Research Council (Discovery Project in partnership with University of Western Australia).

Researchers: Prof. Boris Gurevich, Prof. Maxim Lebedev

Development and construction of a low-frequency experimental apparatus for measurements of seismic dispersion and attenuation in reservoir rocks

The low-frequency apparatus (US Patent 9,857,278, Australian patent AU2011318229) and the ultrasonic system developed at Curtin University allow us to measure the elastic properties of rock samples at the seismic (0.1 Hz – 120 Hz) and ultrasonic (0.5 MHz – 1 MHz) frequencies.

The motivation of this project is to improve the understanding of seismic response of hydrocarbon reservoir rocks by the development of laboratory measurement facilities.

Funded by: Chengdu University of Technology (China).

Researchers: Dr. Vassily Mikhaltsevitch, Prof. Maxim Lebedev, Prof. Boris Gurevich

Modelling elastic logs in clastic formation based on petrographic information and laboratory measurements

Many rock physics models exist that can be used to model elastic properties of clastic rocks. However, because of variability of rock geologic histories, structures and textures, these models must always contain a number of parameters (such as pore aspect ratios, coordination numbers etc.), which are usually adjusted to a particular dataset. This limits the predictive power of these models. Thus the first objective of this project is to attempt to build a workflow where, ideally, all of the parameters will be obtained from a rich set of independent petrographic and petrophysical information. The second objective is to optimise this workflow and figure out the ‘optimal’ amount of input information.

Funded by: Santos Energy

Researchers: Dr. Stanislav Glubokovskikh, Prof. Boris Gurevich, Prof. Maxim Lebedev, Dr. Stephanie Vialle, Jiabin Liang

Role of CO2 in the diagenetic evolution of Brazilian Pre-salt carbonates and the effects on seismic data

Lacustrine pre-salt carbonate reservoirs have attracted lots of attention in the last decade because they host gigantic hydrocarbon accumulations along the South Atlantic margins. However, from a geological perspective, they are quite puzzling as they display large volumes and unusual textural and compositional features. Contrary to marine carbonates, for which the main diagenetic control is geological age, continental carbonates have their diagenesis constrained by local geological events (tectonics, climate): factors such as flow and chemistry of surface- and ground- waters, temperature variations and sedimentary inputs are key controls. These coupled physical, chemical and biological processes generate complex and heterogenous pore systems which can give rise to a wide range of permeabilities and seismic signatures. Being able to describe and predict the diagenetic evolution of these carbonates is hence a key element for reservoir quality assessment and for production optimisation. Previous petrological observations and modelling studies on these carbonates have suggested that CO2 partial pressure, temperature and water chemistry are key parameters in controlling mineral phases and rock texture.

The goal of this project is to design and perform controlled laboratory experiments to test some of the hypotheses about the key diagenetic controlling parameters and their effect on the rock physical parameters (porosity, permeability and elastic moduli). This study includes a combination of routine and advanced petrological characterisations, temperature- and pressure-controlled batch and core flood experiments, measurements of petrophysical and elastic parameters and geochemical modelling. Probed scales go from pore to core.

The data generated in this project will bring critical information to better understand and constrain some of the diagenetic processes involved in lacustrine pre-salt carbonates as well as their implication for seismic exploration.

Funded by: TOTAL SA, France, 2018–2021

Researchers: Dr. Stephanie Vialle, Prof. Maxim Lebedev