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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 89, No. 12 (December 2005), P. 1593-1606.

Copyright copy2005. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Fault interaction in porous sandstone and implications for reservoir management; examples from southern Utah

Haakon Fossen,1 Tord Erlend Skeie Johansen,2 Jonny Hesthammer,2 Atle Rotevatn3

1Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Alleacutegt. 41, 5007 Bergen, Norway; [email protected]
2Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Alleacutegt. 41, 5007 Bergen, Norway
3Center of Integrated Petroleum Research, University of Bergen, Alleacutegt. 41, 5007 Bergen, Norway


Different types of fault interaction are examined and compared to a single fault situation with respect to density, distribution, and orientation of subseismic structures. Fault branch points are found to be considerably more complex than single faults. The damage zone in these areas shows a wider range in orientation of deformation bands and fractures, and the damaged volume extends far into the fault blocks. Overlapping structures develop wide damage zones at early stages, typically with structures that are oblique to the faults and, thus, represent potential flow barriers. The damage associated with relay structures is inherited by later stages, when the fault segments are coalesced and behave as a single fault. At advanced stages, the damage zones are uncommonly wide in breached relay locations. Such locations can be recognized as places where faults make abrupt steps or bends.

The extent to which complications associated with both single-tip and double-tip interactions affect reservoir performance depends on the nature of the minor structures in the damage zone. It is thus crucial that the physical nature of minor structures is investigated so that their influence on reservoir performance can be evaluated.

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