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Analysis and interpretation of stress indicators in deviated wells of the Coso Geothermal Field

January 1, 2016

Characterizing the tectonic stress field is an integral part of the development of hydrothermal systems and especially for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). With a well characterized stress field the propensity of fault slip on faults with known location and orientation can be identified. Faults that are critically oriented for faulting with respect to the stress field are known to provide natural fluid pathways. A high slip tendency makes a fault a likely candidate for reactivation during the creation of an EGS. Similarly, the stress state provides insight for the potential of larger, damaging earthquakes should extensive portions of well-oriented, larger faults be reactivated.

The analysis of stress indicators such as drilling-induced fractures and borehole breakouts is the main tool to infer information on the stress state of a geothermal reservoir. The standard procedure is applicable to sub-vertical wellbore sections and highly deviated sections have to be discarded. However, in order to save costs and reduce the environmental impact most recent wells are directionally drilled with deviations that require appropriate consideration of the deviated trajectory. Here we present an analysis scheme applicable to arbitrary well trajectories or a combination of wells to infer the stress state. Through the sampling of the stress tensor along several directions additional information on the stress regime and even relative stress magnitudes can be obtained.

We apply this method on image logs from the pair of wells 58-10 and 58A-10 that were drilled from the same well pad. Both wells have image logs of about 2km of their trajectories that are separated by less than 300m. For both wells we obtain a mean orientation of SHmax of N23° with large standard deviations of locations of stress indicators of 24° and 26°, respectively. While the local stress direction is highly variable along both wells with dominant wavelengths from around 50 to 500m, the mean directions are very consistent and also agree with previous stress estimates in the eastern part of the Coso Geothermal Field. In order to obtain a reliable estimation of the stress orientation in this setting, it is necessary to sample the stress field on an interval long to capture several of the dominant wavelengths.

Publication Year 2016
Title Analysis and interpretation of stress indicators in deviated wells of the Coso Geothermal Field
Authors Martin Schoenball, Jonathan M. G. Glen, Nicholas C. Davatzes
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70168561
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center