Dati, Francesco (2013) Characterization of a fractured carbonate reservoir analogue in the southern Apennines (Italy). [Tesi di dottorato]

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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Lingua: English
Title: Characterization of a fractured carbonate reservoir analogue in the southern Apennines (Italy)
Dati, Francescofrancesco.dati@unina.it
Date: 28 March 2013
Number of Pages: 184
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e delle Risorse
Scuola di dottorato: Scienze della Terra
Dottorato: Scienze della Terra
Ciclo di dottorato: 25
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Boni, Mariaboni@unina.it
Mazzoli, Stefanostefano.mazzoli@unina.it
Vitale, Stefanostefano.vitale@unina.it
Guerriero, Vincenzovincenzo.guerriero@unina.it
Date: 28 March 2013
Number of Pages: 184
Uncontrolled Keywords: fractures;reservoir;analogue
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 04 - Scienze della terra > GEO/03 - Geologia strutturale
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 13:07
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2014 14:09
URI: http://www.fedoa.unina.it/id/eprint/9098


In carbonate reservoirs characterized by low matrix porosity, fracture networks represent the main factor controlling fluid migration and consequentially, the reservoir quality. As fracture distribution in buried reservoirs is difficult to study in detail, outcropping analogues represent the most relevant source to predict the fracture network characteristics in three dimensions and to constrain their evolution through geological time. In this study, joints and veins have been analyzed at various scales in a carbonate succession cropping out in the southern Apennines. This succession is considered as a geological analogue of subsurface carbonate reservoirs hosting the Val D’Agri and Tempa Rossa oil fields in the Basilicata region. The studied succession, located at Mt. Chianello (Campania region), comprises a 1200 m thick sequence of Cretaceous shallow water carbonates characterized by an alternation of dolomitic and calcareous beds, with variable textures and crystal sizes, covered by silicoclastic deposits of Burdigalian age. The first phase of this work is focused on the structural analysis of this kilometre-sized outcrop of allochthonous carbonate units by means of the study of faults and fractures and their relationships with folds, as well as their crosscutting relationships. Structural and paleostress analyses allowed the writer to unravel a superposed deformation pattern within a general framework of convergent continental margin evolution, following the stages of Mesozoic extension. The reconstructed tectonic evolution involves: (i) early extensional faulting and fracturing associated with bending of the foreland lithosphere during forebulge and foredeep stages (including the development of both ‘tangential’ and ‘radial’ normal faults and tensile fractures; Early-Middle Miocene); (ii) large-scale thrusting and folding (Late Miocene); (iii) transcurrent faulting (including two distinct sub-stages characterized by different remote stress fields; Pliocene-Early Pleistocene), and (iv) extensional faulting (late Quaternary). Stage (i) normal faults – generally occurring as conjugate sets – and related fractures and veins are variably deformed and overprinted by later horizontal shortening. Despite having experienced such a long and complex structural history, the studied carbonates are characterized by a ‘background’ fracture network – including two joint/vein sets orthogonal to each other and to bedding – that appears to be associated with the early fault sets that formed during the first (foredeep/forebulge-related) deformation stage. Therefore, away from younger (Late Miocene to Quaternary) fault zones, the permeability structure of the studied carbonates appears to be essentially controlled by the early, inherited fracture network. As a similar fracture network is likely to characterize also the buried Apulian Platform carbonates, representing the reservoir units for major oil fields in southern Italy, the results also bear possible implications for a better understanding of fluid flow in the subsurface and related hydrocarbon production. The next part of this work is mainly aimed at analyzing the dependence of different geological parameters such as lithology, bed thickness, crystal size and matrix porosity controlling the spatial and statistical distribution of stratabound and non-stratabound fracture systems (sensu Odling et al., 1999), away from major fault damage zones. Stratabound fractures form, together with bedding-parallel joints bounding mechanical layers, a permeable network at the meter scale, transporting the fluids toward the main fault damage zones. The stratabound fracture systems exhibit a regular spacing and aperture values of the order of the tenths of millimetres. The analysis of fractures from single-bed scan lines provides confirms the well-known notion that bed thickness is the dominant parameter controlling stratabound fracture distribution, whereas lithology and textures do not play a major role. Furthermore, mechanical bed thickness appears to control also the stratabound fracture-related porosity. The higher values were reached in thinner beds (i.e. 0.8%), which are characterized by a densely spaced distribution of fractures. At a smaller scale, down to the crystal size, non-stratabound fractures form a capillary network conveying fluids within the rock mass. The examined fracture system exhibit a random spatial distribution along a single mechanical unit, whereas the fracture aperture values are roughly regulated by the corresponding lengths. Geological parameters like texture and lithology do not seem to control the fracture intensity at outcrop scale. However the multi-scale fracture analysis carried out on Aptian-Albian limestone and dolomite adjacent mechanical layers points out that, although the studied carbonates have been subjected to a uniform regional stress field, the fracture deformation style may vary from one mechanical unit to the next. In particular, micro-scale studies performed on thin sections and acetate peels, showed that the longitudinal strain in carbonate rocks is accommodated by fractures (joints and veins), mechanical twins affecting the calcite crystals within the veins, and micro-cracks in dolomite crystals. The results of the statistical analysis of non-stratabound microfracture density indicate that the role of crystal size largely overcomes that of lithology in controlling micro-scale rock strain, as fine-grained dolomites behave similarly to limestones with a comparable particle size. In particular, dolomites exhibit an inverse relationship between crystal size and the maximum fracture density (MFD; excluding micro-cracks), well described by a power law. This dependency for dolomites seems to be valid also in the buried reservoir, as proved by combining micro-fracture data of surface analogue with those collected on acetate peels representing the drilling cores(i.e. core 3, depth 5071-5077 m and core 4, depth 5276-5280 m) of Gorgolione 1 well (Tempa Rossa oil field). Moreover, the crystal size represents the main factor controlling the amount of finite strain related to the ratio between micro-cracks and micro-fractures in dolomites. Generally this ratio tends to increase with the increasing crystal size. Although the micro-cracks are ubiquitous in coarse dolomites, their role in the fluid circulation within the rock mass is negligible, being non-connected and sealed by mineralization. For all these reasons, the crystal size can be considered the main parameter controlling the fracture distribution at micro-scale and therefore, it influences significantly the hydraulic behavior of non-stratabound fracture systems. The third and final section of this thesis includes a structural and diagenetic investigation performed on microstructures (veins and stylolites) hosted in the Aptian- Albian part of the analyzed succession. The interactions among petrographic and microtectonic analysis, kinematic evolution of the Mt. Chianello ridge and inferred paleostress conditions, are described in details. This study documents different episodes of vein (fracture) formation, detected by matching the macro- and micro-scale observations with cathodoluminescence analysis (CL). The isotopic composition of cements filling the different fracture sets revealed a limited interaction with the host rock. The densely spaced early veins, forming together with two tensile joint sets the planar structure network affecting the whole succession, record the effects of multiple fracturing events. Early fractures (joints and veins) and normal faults formed as a consequence of the extension related to foreland bending, in the Early-Middle Miocene time. Subsequently during the incorporation of the Mt. Chianello carbonates in the Apennine accretionary wedge, the progressive layer parallel shortening (LPS) caused the formation of bedding-parallel veins and development of vertical stylolitic planes. Finally, during the following uplift and final emersion stages (post-LPS veins), the latest calcite cement generations were precipitated from meteoric fluids circulating along fractures associated with strike-slip fault systems and late extensional faults. Despite the numerous episodes of cementation, obliterating most of the small fractures, a considerable number of larger fractures (joints) showing on average aperture higher than 0.5 mm are still open and appear to control fluid flow in the surface analogue. The fracture analysis carried out on the Mt. Chianello carbonates represents an integrated approach that can be applied to fractured layered carbonate analogues. The results of different parts of this thesis can provide useful parameters for the characterization, modelling and simulation of carbonate reservoirs in general, and of reservoirs for the hydrocarbons of the Basilicata region, specifically.


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