Comprehensive analysis of caprock failure and associated steam release events during SAGD operations

Shiho Matsuno, Kenji Furui

研究成果: Conference contribution


Massive steam injection during SAGD operation may result in significant changes in pore pressure, temperature, stress and strain in the overlying caprock as well as the injected formations. These changes lead to containment breach of the caprock as reported in the steam release incident at the Joslyn Creek field in 2006. To avoid such a catastrophic event, the integrity of the caprock and risks of steam release must be properly evaluated during planning and operating SAGD wells. In this study, a thermo-poro-mechanical model is developed to evaluate the integrity of the caprock due to temperature and pressure changes observed during SAGD operations. A commercial reservoir simulator is used to calculate changes of pore pressure and temperature during steam injection. These results are used as a part of input data for the geomechanical model that considers poro-elasto-plastic stress-strain relations of the formations. The shear failure of the rocks is determined by the Drucker-Prager criterion while the tensile failure is judged by the tensile strength of the rocks, which are used to assess the integrity of the caprock. Our simulation results indicate that the temperature change can be extended deep into the overlying formations while the steam chamber is developed in the reservoir interval. Because the caprock is expected to have low permeability, these temperature changes lead to notable pore pressure changes in the caprock interval, which plays an important role in the stability of the caprock in the geomechancial analysis. The simulation results also suggest the importance of considering free surface, underburden, and sideburdens as well as assigning appropriate boundary conditions in the model. Using the model developed in this work, the Joslyn field case is investigated showing the existence of failure region in the caprock layer during the steam circulation phase. These findings may explain the mechanism of the caprock failure and the resultant steam release at the surface experienced in the field. It should be noted that the analysis results indicate, not only possible shear failure events but also a possibility of tensile failure developed in the caprock interval above the steam chamber. It is also found that the geological complexity including the existence of a mudstone layer between the reservoir and the caprock affects the likelihood of the steam release event. The caprock integrity analysis method presented in this work can help engineers evaluate risks of the containment breach during a planning phase of SAGD project. Also, using the simulation model developed in this work as a forward model, the integrity of the caprock and the development of steam chamber during SAGD operation can be monitored by surface displacement measurements by In-SAR or tiltmeters. These study results can enable effective and safe operation for future SAGD production.

ホスト出版物のタイトルInternational Petroleum Technology Conference 2019, IPTC 2019
出版社International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC)
出版ステータスPublished - 2019
イベントInternational Petroleum Technology Conference 2019, IPTC 2019 - Beijing, China
継続期間: 2019 3月 262019 3月 28


名前International Petroleum Technology Conference 2019, IPTC 2019


ConferenceInternational Petroleum Technology Conference 2019, IPTC 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 地球化学および岩石学
  • 燃料技術


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