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Title: Seismic Fracture Characterization Methodologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems

Abstract

Executive Summary The overall objective of this work was the development of surface and borehole seismic methodologies using both compressional and shear waves for characterizing faults and fractures in Enhanced Geothermal Systems. We used both surface seismic and vertical seismic profile (VSP) methods. We adapted these methods to the unique conditions encountered in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) creation. These conditions include geological environments with volcanic cover, highly altered rocks, severe structure, extreme near surface velocity contrasts and lack of distinct velocity contrasts at depth. One of the objectives was the development of methods for identifying more appropriate seismic acquisition parameters for overcoming problems associated with these geological factors. Because temperatures up to 300º C are often encountered in these systems, another objective was the testing of VSP borehole tools capable of operating at depths in excess of 1,000 m and at temperatures in excess of 200º C. A final objective was the development of new processing and interpretation techniques based on scattering and time-frequency analysis, as well as the application of modern seismic migration imaging algorithms to seismic data acquired over geothermal areas. The use of surface seismic reflection data at Brady's Hot Springs was found useful in building amore » geological model, but only when combined with other extensive geological and geophysical data. The use of fine source and geophone spacing was critical in producing useful images. The surface seismic reflection data gave no information about the internal structure (extent, thickness and filling) of faults and fractures, and modeling suggests that they are unlikely to do so. Time-frequency analysis was applied to these data, but was not found to be significantly useful in their interpretation. Modeling does indicate that VSP and other seismic methods with sensors located at depth in wells will be the most effective seismic tools for getting information on the internal structure of faults and fractures in support of fluid flow pathway management and EGS treatment. Scattered events similar to those expected from faults and fractures are seen in the VSP reported here. Unfortunately, the source offset and well depth coverage do not allow for detailed analysis of these events. This limited coverage also precluded the use of advanced migration and imaging algorithms. More extensive acquisition is needed to support fault and fracture characterization in the geothermal reservoir at Brady's Hot Springs. The VSP was effective in generating interval velocity estimates over the depths covered by the array. Upgoing reflection events are also visible in the VSP results at locations corresponding to reflection events in the surface seismic. Overall, the high temperature rated fiber optic sensors used in the VSP produced useful results. Modeling has been found useful in the interpretation of both surface reflection seismic and VSP data. It has helped identify possible near surface scattering in the surface seismic data. It has highlighted potential scattering events from deeper faults in the VSP data. Inclusion of more detailed fault and fracture specific stiffness parameters are needed to fully interpret fault and fracture scattered events for flow properties (Pyrak-Nolte and Morris, 2000, Zhu and Snieder, 2002). Shear wave methods were applied in both the surface seismic reflection and VSP work. They were not found to be effective in the Brady's Hot Springs area. This was due to the extreme attenuation of shear waves in the near surface at Brady's. This does not imply that they will be ineffective in general. In geothermal areas where good shear waves can be recorded, modeling suggests they should be very useful for characterizing faults and fractures.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Hi-Geophysical, Inc., Ponca, OK (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Hi-Geophysical, Inc., Ponca City, OK (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
OSTI Identifier:
1252131
Report Number(s):
DOE-HGI-18191-F
DOE Contract Number:
FG36-08GO18191
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; Vertical Seismic Profile; VSP; seismic

Citation Formats

Queen, John H. Seismic Fracture Characterization Methodologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1252131.
Queen, John H. Seismic Fracture Characterization Methodologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems. United States. doi:10.2172/1252131.
Queen, John H. Mon . "Seismic Fracture Characterization Methodologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems". United States. doi:10.2172/1252131. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1252131.
@article{osti_1252131,
title = {Seismic Fracture Characterization Methodologies for Enhanced Geothermal Systems},
author = {Queen, John H.},
abstractNote = {Executive Summary The overall objective of this work was the development of surface and borehole seismic methodologies using both compressional and shear waves for characterizing faults and fractures in Enhanced Geothermal Systems. We used both surface seismic and vertical seismic profile (VSP) methods. We adapted these methods to the unique conditions encountered in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) creation. These conditions include geological environments with volcanic cover, highly altered rocks, severe structure, extreme near surface velocity contrasts and lack of distinct velocity contrasts at depth. One of the objectives was the development of methods for identifying more appropriate seismic acquisition parameters for overcoming problems associated with these geological factors. Because temperatures up to 300º C are often encountered in these systems, another objective was the testing of VSP borehole tools capable of operating at depths in excess of 1,000 m and at temperatures in excess of 200º C. A final objective was the development of new processing and interpretation techniques based on scattering and time-frequency analysis, as well as the application of modern seismic migration imaging algorithms to seismic data acquired over geothermal areas. The use of surface seismic reflection data at Brady's Hot Springs was found useful in building a geological model, but only when combined with other extensive geological and geophysical data. The use of fine source and geophone spacing was critical in producing useful images. The surface seismic reflection data gave no information about the internal structure (extent, thickness and filling) of faults and fractures, and modeling suggests that they are unlikely to do so. Time-frequency analysis was applied to these data, but was not found to be significantly useful in their interpretation. Modeling does indicate that VSP and other seismic methods with sensors located at depth in wells will be the most effective seismic tools for getting information on the internal structure of faults and fractures in support of fluid flow pathway management and EGS treatment. Scattered events similar to those expected from faults and fractures are seen in the VSP reported here. Unfortunately, the source offset and well depth coverage do not allow for detailed analysis of these events. This limited coverage also precluded the use of advanced migration and imaging algorithms. More extensive acquisition is needed to support fault and fracture characterization in the geothermal reservoir at Brady's Hot Springs. The VSP was effective in generating interval velocity estimates over the depths covered by the array. Upgoing reflection events are also visible in the VSP results at locations corresponding to reflection events in the surface seismic. Overall, the high temperature rated fiber optic sensors used in the VSP produced useful results. Modeling has been found useful in the interpretation of both surface reflection seismic and VSP data. It has helped identify possible near surface scattering in the surface seismic data. It has highlighted potential scattering events from deeper faults in the VSP data. Inclusion of more detailed fault and fracture specific stiffness parameters are needed to fully interpret fault and fracture scattered events for flow properties (Pyrak-Nolte and Morris, 2000, Zhu and Snieder, 2002). Shear wave methods were applied in both the surface seismic reflection and VSP work. They were not found to be effective in the Brady's Hot Springs area. This was due to the extreme attenuation of shear waves in the near surface at Brady's. This does not imply that they will be ineffective in general. In geothermal areas where good shear waves can be recorded, modeling suggests they should be very useful for characterizing faults and fractures.},
doi = {10.2172/1252131},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon May 09 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Mon May 09 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

Technical Report:

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  • Joint inversion of electrical and seismic data for Fracture characterization and Imaging of Fluid Flow in Geothermal Systems
  • This report highlights the work that was done to characterize fractured geothermal reservoirs using production data. That includes methods that were developed to infer characteristic functions from production data and models that were designed to optimize reinjection scheduling into geothermal reservoirs, based on these characteristic functions. The characterization method provides a robust way of interpreting tracer and flow rate data from fractured reservoirs. The flow-rate data are used to infer the interwell connectivity, which describes how injected fluids are divided between producers in the reservoir. The tracer data are used to find the tracer kernel for each injector-producer connection. Themore » tracer kernel describes the volume and dispersive properties of the interwell flow path. A combination of parametric and nonparametric regression methods were developed to estimate the tracer kernels for situations where data is collected at variable flow-rate or variable injected concentration conditions. The characteristic functions can be used to calibrate thermal transport models, which can in turn be used to predict the productivity of geothermal systems. This predictive model can be used to optimize injection scheduling in a geothermal reservoir, as is illustrated in this report.« less
  • As proposed, the main effort in this project is the development of software capable of performing real-time monitoring of micro-seismic activity recorded by an array of sensors deployed around an EGS. The main milestones are defined by the development of software to perform the following tasks: • Real-time micro-earthquake detection and location • Real-time detection of shear-wave splitting • Delayed-time inversion of shear-wave splitting These algorithms, which are discussed in detail in this report, make possible the automatic and real-time monitoring of subsurface fracture systems in geothermal fields from data collected by an array of seismic sensors. Shear wave splittingmore » (SWS) is parameterized in terms of the polarization of the fast shear wave and the time delay between the fast and slow shear waves, which are automatically measured and stored. The measured parameters are then combined with previously measured SWS parameters at the same station and used to invert for the orientation (strike and dip) and intensity of cracks under that station. In addition, this grant allowed the collection of seismic data from several geothermal regions in the US (Coso) and Iceland (Hengill) to use in the development and testing of the software.« less
  • Geothermal energy is recovered by circulating water through heat exchange areas within a hot rock mass. Geothermal reservoir rock masses generally consist of igneous and metamorphic rocks that have low matrix permeability. Therefore, cracks and fractures play a significant role in extraction of geothermal energy by providing the major pathways for fluid flow and heat exchange. Therefore, knowledge of the conditions leading to formation of fractures and fracture networks is of paramount importance. Furthermore, in the absence of natural fractures or adequate connectivity, artificial fractures are created in the reservoir using hydraulic fracturing. Multiple fractures are preferred because of themore » large size necessary when using only a single fracture. Although the basic idea is rather simple, hydraulic fracturing is a complex process involving interactions of high pressure fluid injections with a stressed hot rock mass, mechanical interaction of induced fractures with existing natural fractures, and the spatial and temporal variations of in-situ stress. As a result, it is necessary to develop tools that can be used to study these interactions as an integral part of a comprehensive approach to geothermal reservoir development, particularly enhanced geothermal systems. In response to this need we have developed advanced poro-thermo-chemo-mechanical fracture models for rock fracture research in support of EGS design. The fracture propagation models are based on a regular displacement discontinuity formulation. The fracture propagation studies include modeling interaction of induced fractures. In addition to the fracture propagation studies, two-dimensional solution algorithms have been developed and used to estimate the impact of pro-thermo-chemical processes on fracture permeability and reservoir pressure. Fracture permeability variation is studied using a coupled thermo-chemical model with quartz reaction kinetics. The model is applied to study quartz precipitation/dissolution, as well as the variation in fracture aperture and pressure. Also, a three-dimensional model of injection/extraction has been developed to consider the impact poro- and thermoelastic stresses on fracture slip and injection pressure. These investigations shed light on the processes involved in the observed phenomenon of injection pressure variation (e.g., in Coso), and allow the assessment of the potential of thermal and chemical stimulation strategies.« less