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Title: Evaluation of solitary waves as a mechanism for oil transport in poroelastic media: A case study of the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico basin

Abstract

Hydrocarbons in shallow reservoirs of the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico basin are thought to have migrated rapidly along low permeability sediments of the Red fault zone as discrete pressure pulses from source rocks at depths of about 4.5 km. The aim of this research was to evaluate the hypothesis that these pressure pulses represent solitary waves by investigating the mechanics of solitary wave formation and motion and wave oil transport capability. A two-dimensional numerical model of Eugene Island minibasin formation predicted overpressures at the hydrocarbon source depth to increase at an average rate of 30 Pa/yr, reaching 52 MPa by the present day and oil velocities of 1E-12 m/yr, far too low for kilometer scale oil transport to fill shallow Plio-Pleistocene reservoirs within the 3.6 million year minibasin history. Calculations from a separate one-dimensional model that used the pressure generation rate from the two-dimensional model showed that solitary waves could only form and migrate within sediments that have very low permeabilities between 1-25 to 1-24 m2 and that are highly overpressured to 91-93% of lithostatic pressure. Solitary waves were found to have a maximum pore volume of 105 m3, to travel a maximum distance ofmore » 1-2 km, and to have a maximum velocity of 1-3 m/yr. Based on these results, solitary waves are unlikely to have transported oil to the shallowest reservoirs in the Eugene Island field in a poroelastic fault gouge rheology at the pressure generation rates likely to have been caused by disequilibrium compaction and hydrocarbon generation. However, solitary waves could perhaps be important agents for oil transport in other locations where reservoirs are closer to the source rocks, where the pore space is occupied by more than one fluid, or where sudden fracturing of overpressured hydrocarbon source sediments would allow the solitary waves to propagate as shock waves. Hydrocarbons in shallow reservoirs of the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico basin are thought to have migrated rapidly along low permeability sediments of the Red fault zone as discrete pressure pulses from source rocks at depths of about 4.5 km. The aim of this research was to evaluate the hypothesis that these pressure pulses represent solitary waves by investigating the mechanics of solitary wave formation and motion and wave oil transport capability. A two-dimensional numerical model of Eugene Island minibasin formation predicted overpressures at the hydrocarbon source depth to increase at an average rate of 30 Pa/yr, reaching 52 MPa by the present day and oil velocities of 1-12 m/yr, far too low for kilometer scale oil transport to fill shallow Plio-Pleistocene reservoirs within the 3.6 million year minibasin history. Calculations from a separate one-dimensional model that used the pressure generation rate from the two-dimensional model showed that solitary waves could only form and migrate within sediments that have very low permeabilities between 1-25 to 1-24 m2 and that are highly overpressured to 91-93% of lithostatic pressure. Solitary waves were found to have a maximum pore volume of 100,000 m3, to travel a maximum distance of 1-2 km, and to have a maximum velocity of 1-3 m/yr. Based on these results, solitary waves are unlikely to have transported oil to the shallowest reservoirs in the Eugene Island field in a poroelastic fault gouge rheology at the pressure generation rates likely to have been caused by disequilibrium compaction and hydrocarbon generation. However, solitary waves could perhaps be important agents for oil transport in other locations where reservoirs are closer to the source rocks, where the pore space is occupied by more than one fluid, or where sudden fracturing of overpressured hydrocarbon source sediments would allow the solitary waves to propagate as shock waves.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The Curators of the University of Missouri—Columbia, Office of Sponsored Program Administration, 310 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Contributing Org.:
University of Missouri-Columbia; Louisiana State University
OSTI Identifier:
1080072
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER15958
Journal ID: ISSN 0264-8172
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-08ER15958
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Marine and Petroleum Geology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 37; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0264-8172
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
02 PETROLEUM; solitary waves; Gulf of Mexico; Eugene Island; petroleum

Citation Formats

Joshi, Ajit, Appold, Martin S., and Nunn, Jeffrey A. Evaluation of solitary waves as a mechanism for oil transport in poroelastic media: A case study of the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico basin. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.06.011.
Joshi, Ajit, Appold, Martin S., & Nunn, Jeffrey A. Evaluation of solitary waves as a mechanism for oil transport in poroelastic media: A case study of the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico basin. United States. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.06.011.
Joshi, Ajit, Appold, Martin S., and Nunn, Jeffrey A. Thu . "Evaluation of solitary waves as a mechanism for oil transport in poroelastic media: A case study of the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico basin". United States. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.06.011.
@article{osti_1080072,
title = {Evaluation of solitary waves as a mechanism for oil transport in poroelastic media: A case study of the South Eugene Island field, Gulf of Mexico basin},
author = {Joshi, Ajit and Appold, Martin S. and Nunn, Jeffrey A.},
abstractNote = {Hydrocarbons in shallow reservoirs of the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico basin are thought to have migrated rapidly along low permeability sediments of the Red fault zone as discrete pressure pulses from source rocks at depths of about 4.5 km. The aim of this research was to evaluate the hypothesis that these pressure pulses represent solitary waves by investigating the mechanics of solitary wave formation and motion and wave oil transport capability. A two-dimensional numerical model of Eugene Island minibasin formation predicted overpressures at the hydrocarbon source depth to increase at an average rate of 30 Pa/yr, reaching 52 MPa by the present day and oil velocities of 1E-12 m/yr, far too low for kilometer scale oil transport to fill shallow Plio-Pleistocene reservoirs within the 3.6 million year minibasin history. Calculations from a separate one-dimensional model that used the pressure generation rate from the two-dimensional model showed that solitary waves could only form and migrate within sediments that have very low permeabilities between 1-25 to 1-24 m2 and that are highly overpressured to 91-93% of lithostatic pressure. Solitary waves were found to have a maximum pore volume of 105 m3, to travel a maximum distance of 1-2 km, and to have a maximum velocity of 1-3 m/yr. Based on these results, solitary waves are unlikely to have transported oil to the shallowest reservoirs in the Eugene Island field in a poroelastic fault gouge rheology at the pressure generation rates likely to have been caused by disequilibrium compaction and hydrocarbon generation. However, solitary waves could perhaps be important agents for oil transport in other locations where reservoirs are closer to the source rocks, where the pore space is occupied by more than one fluid, or where sudden fracturing of overpressured hydrocarbon source sediments would allow the solitary waves to propagate as shock waves. Hydrocarbons in shallow reservoirs of the Eugene Island 330 field in the Gulf of Mexico basin are thought to have migrated rapidly along low permeability sediments of the Red fault zone as discrete pressure pulses from source rocks at depths of about 4.5 km. The aim of this research was to evaluate the hypothesis that these pressure pulses represent solitary waves by investigating the mechanics of solitary wave formation and motion and wave oil transport capability. A two-dimensional numerical model of Eugene Island minibasin formation predicted overpressures at the hydrocarbon source depth to increase at an average rate of 30 Pa/yr, reaching 52 MPa by the present day and oil velocities of 1-12 m/yr, far too low for kilometer scale oil transport to fill shallow Plio-Pleistocene reservoirs within the 3.6 million year minibasin history. Calculations from a separate one-dimensional model that used the pressure generation rate from the two-dimensional model showed that solitary waves could only form and migrate within sediments that have very low permeabilities between 1-25 to 1-24 m2 and that are highly overpressured to 91-93% of lithostatic pressure. Solitary waves were found to have a maximum pore volume of 100,000 m3, to travel a maximum distance of 1-2 km, and to have a maximum velocity of 1-3 m/yr. Based on these results, solitary waves are unlikely to have transported oil to the shallowest reservoirs in the Eugene Island field in a poroelastic fault gouge rheology at the pressure generation rates likely to have been caused by disequilibrium compaction and hydrocarbon generation. However, solitary waves could perhaps be important agents for oil transport in other locations where reservoirs are closer to the source rocks, where the pore space is occupied by more than one fluid, or where sudden fracturing of overpressured hydrocarbon source sediments would allow the solitary waves to propagate as shock waves.},
doi = {10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.06.011},
journal = {Marine and Petroleum Geology},
issn = {0264-8172},
number = 1,
volume = 37,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}