An integrated framework for surface deformation modelling and induced seismicity forecasting due to reservoir operations

Hadrien Meyer, Jonathan D. Smith, Stephen Bourne, Jean-Philippe Avouac

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Induced seismicity and surface deformation are common observable manifestations of the geomechanical effect of reservoir operations whether related to geothermal energy production, gas extraction or the storage of carbon dioxide, gas, air or hydrogen. Modelling tools to quantitatively predict surface deformation and seismicity based on operation data could thus help manage such reservoirs. To that effect, we present an integrated and modular modelling framework which combines reservoir modelling, geomechanical modelling and earthquake forecasting. To allow effective computational cost, we assume vertical flow equilibrium, semi-analytical Green's functions to calculate surface deformation and poroelastic stresses and a simple earthquake nucleation model based on Coulomb stress changes. We use the test case of the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands to validate the modelling framework and assess its usefulness for reservoir management. For this application, given the relative simplicity of this sandstone reservoir, we assume homogeneous porosity and permeability and single-phase flow. The model fits the measured pressure well, yielding a root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.95 MPa, and the seismicity observations as well. The pressure residuals show, however, a systematic increase with time that probably reflects groundwater ingression into the depleted reservoir. The interaction with groundwater could be accounted for by implementing a multiphase-flow vertical flow equilibrium (VFE) model. This is probably the major factor that limits the general applicability of the modelling framework. Nevertheless, he modelled subsidence and seismicity fit very well the historical observations in the case of the Groningen gas field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-318
Number of pages20
JournalGeological Society, London, Special Publications
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Aug 2023


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