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An experimental study of the potential for fault reactivation during changes in gas and pore-water pressure

Cuss, Robert J.; Harrington, Jon F.. 2016 An experimental study of the potential for fault reactivation during changes in gas and pore-water pressure. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 53. 41-55. 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.07.028

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2016 Cuss and Harrington Int J Greenshous Gas Control - BigCCS2 (author copy).pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract/Summary

The injection of CO2 into a depleted reservoir will alter the pore pressure, which if sufficiently perturbed could result in fault reactivation. This paper presents an experimental study of fault reactivation potential in fully saturated kaolinite and Ball Clay fault gouges. Clear differences were observed in fault reactivation pressure when water was injected, with the addition of mica/illite in Ball Clay seen to reduce the pressure necessary for reactivation. Slip occurred once pore-pressure within the gouge was sufficient to overcome the normal stress acting on the fault. During gas injection localised dilatant pathways are formed with approximately only 15 % of the fault observing an elevated gas pressure. This localisation is insufficient to overcome normal stress and so reactivation is not initiated. Therefore faults are more likely to conduct gas than to reactivate. The Mohr approach of assessing fault reactivity potential gave mixed results. Hydro-mechanical coupling, saturation state, mineralogical composition and time-dependent features of the clay require inclusion in this approach otherwise experiments that are predicted to be stable result in fault reactivation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.07.028
Date made live: 24 Aug 2016 15:11 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/514336

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