Sedimentary Basin RTM Nonlinear Dynamics: Fundamentals and Reseource E&P Implications

Friday, February 11, 2000 - 9:30am - 10:25am
Keller 3-180
Peter Ortoleva (Indiana University)
The three-dimensional dynamics of a sedimentary basin is shown to evolve through the interplay of external influences (overall tectonics, basement heat and mass flux, climate, etc.) and a set of tightly coupled reaction, transport and mechanical (RTM) processes. Using three-dimensional finite element solutions of the RTM problem, we show that the basin interior organizes itself into patterns of fracturing, faulting, salt tectonic features, petroleum and rock composition/texture.

Our model is based on incremental stress rheology, a comprehensive textural description (mineralogy, grain size, competence), a statistical dynamics theory of fracturing, multi-phase hydrology, organic and inorganic diagenesis, and heat transfer. RTM modeling of the evolution of intra-basin features is shown to yield valuable information for petroleum E&P in salt tectonic regimes, tight/fractured reservoirs, overpressured zones, and the location of seals and permeable zones. This type of advanced basin/field modeling is shown to be a key element of an advanced E&P approach and to yield deeper insights into the self-organized and chaotic behavior of basin and fault systems. Implications for the theory of seismic vs. creeping fault behavior are also drawn as are prospects for earthquake predictability.