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Type: Journal article
Title: Modelling the contempory stress field and its implications for hydrocarbon exploration.
Author: Hillis, R.
Sandiford, M.
Coblentz, D.
Zhou, S.
Citation: Exploration Geophysics, 1997; 28(2):88-93
Issue Date: 1997
ISSN: 0812-3985
Statement of
R.R. Hillis, M. Sandiford, D.D. Coblentz and S. Zhou
Abstract: The forces that act on the Earth's lithospheric plates are responsible for the stress regime within the plates at a regional scale, and thus influence issues pertinent to hydrocarbon exploration ? such as the nature of fault reactivation, hydraulic seal integrity, natural and induced fracture orientation and wellbore stability. Four models of the intraplate stress field of the Australian continent have been produced by elastic finite element modelling of the forces acting on the Indo-Australian plate. All four models incorporate the push of mid-ocean ridges and of continental margins. In the four models the magnitude of the poorly constrained convergent boundary and basal drag forces are varied within reasonable limits. Despite being based on significantly different force magnitudes, regional stress orientations predicted by the three models that recognise the heterogeneity of forces acting along the convergent northeastern boundary of the Indo-Australian plate are considered reliable because they are consistent over much of the Australian continent and show broad agreement with the available in situ stress measurements. In the absence of in situ stress measurements, for example from borehole breakouts, modelled stress orientations should be incorporated into the assessment of issues pertinent to hydrocarbon exploration that are influenced by the contemporary stress field. In the context of fault reactivation, pre-existing vertical faults striking at 30° to 45° to the maximum horizontal stress direction are the most prone to at least a component of strike-slip motion. Planes dipping in the minimum horizontal stress direction are the most suitably oriented to be reactivated in extension, and planes dipping in the maximum horizontal stress direction are the most suitably oriented to be reactivated in compression. Modelled stress orientations can also be used to predict open natural fracture orientation, with the preferred orientation being normal to the minimum horizontal stress, and to help assess the hydraulic integrity of reservoir seals, with faults and fractures normal to the minimum horizontal stress least likely to be sealing.
Rights: © ASEG 1997
RMID: 0030003616
DOI: 10.1071/EG997088
Appears in Collections:Geology & Geophysics publications

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