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TRAP INTEGRITY IN THE LAMINARIA HIGH NANCAR

TROUGH REGION,TIMOR SEA: PREDICTION OF FAULT SEAL


FAILURE USING WELL-CONSTRAINED STRESS TENSORS AND
FAULT SURFACES INTERPRETED FROM 3D SEISMIC
D. A. Castillo1, D. J. Bishop2, I. Donaldson 2,
D. Kuek2, M. de Ruig2, M. Trupp2 and
M. W. Shuster3
1
GeoMechanics International Inc. (Asia Pacific),
Adelaide SA 5072
2
Woodside Energy Ltd
Perth WA 6000
3
Shell Development Australia
Perth WA 6000
castillo@geomi.com

ABSTRACT
Drilling in the Laminaria High and Nancar Trough
areas has shown that many hydrocarbon traps are
underfilled or completely breached. Previous studies
have shown that fault-trap integrity is strongly influenced
by the state of stress resolved on the reservoir bounding
faults, suggesting that careful construction of a
geomechanical model may reduce the risk of encountering
breached reservoirs in exploration and appraisal wells.
The ability of a fault to behave as a seal and support a
hydrocarbon column is influenced in part by the principal
stress directions and magnitudes, and fault geometry
(dip and dip azimuth). If a fault is critically stressed with
respect to the present-day stress field, there is a high
likelihood that the fault will slip, thereby elevating fault
zone permeability that enables hydrocarbons to leak.
Leakage could be intermittent depending on the degree
and rate of fracture healing, and on the recurrence rate
between reactivated slip events.
High-resolution wellbore images from over 15 wells
have been analysed to construct a well-constrained stress
tensor. Constraints are based on geomechanical
parameters, along with drilling conditions that are
consistent with the style of drilling-induced compressive
and tensile wellbore wall failure seen in each of these
wells. This regional stress analysis of permits AC/P8,
AC/P16 and surrounding areas indicates a non-uniform
strike-slip stress regime (SHmax > Sv > Shmin) with the
orientation of the maximum principal horizontal stress
(SHmax) varying systematically from north to south,
similar to that previously reported for the western reaches
of ZOCA. On the Laminaria High (AC/P8 and AC/L5),
SHmax is 15N 6. Just south of the Laminaria High,
there is a marked transition in the SHmax stress direction
to about 69N 6. Over the Nancar Trough (AC/P16), the
orientation is consistently NESW.
Fault surfaces interpreted from 3D seismic data have
been subdivided into discrete segments for the purpose

of calculating the shear and normal stresses in order to


resolve the Coulomb Failure Function (CFF) on each
fault segment. The results have been displayed using 3D
visualisation techniques to facilitate interpretation. The
magnitude of hydrocarbon accumulation (column height)
and leakage (residual column) deduced from well results
may be explained in part by the CFF resolved on their
respective reservoir-bounding faults. By integrating these
stress determination and fault imaging technologies,
explorationists and reservoir engineers will gain the
ability to use these predictive tools to help quantify the
likelihood of encountering a breached reservoir prior to
drilling.

KEYWORDS
Timor Sea trap integrity, tectonic stress and 3D seismic.

INTRODUCTION
Drilling in the AC/P8, AC/P16 and adjacent blocks
within the Timor Sea area has shown that many reservoir
fault traps have experienced hydrocarbon leakage.
Following the discoveries of the Laminaria and Corallina
Fields, exploration activity within the greater AC/P8 and
AC/P16 areas (including WA260P and ZOCA 9101)
has produced a commercial success ratio of 13% and an
oil discovery rate of 35%. A majority (67%) of the
unsuccessful exploration wells in the area show evidence
of a residual or palaeo hydrocarbon column, indicating
trap breaching as the main cause of exploration failure
and sub-commercial finds. In every case within the Timor
Sea area, the sealing integrity of these structural fault
traps depends largely upon a top seal of sufficient quality
and thickness to support the buoyancy forces exerted by
the hydrocarbon column, and the capacity of the reservoirbounding fault(s) to behave as an impermeable seal or
baffle to thwart lateral fluid migration or vertical
migration along the fault.
Previous in-house studies within Woodside, Shell and
BHPP (see references in de Ruig et al, 2000) have
conducted mercury injection capillary pressure tests on
cap rock samples within the Timor Sea area, and have
found that hydrocarbon column heights approaching
several hundred metres can be supported by the cap
rock. Although, this does not rule out the possibility that
critically-stressed natural fractures within the cap rock
have not breached the reservoir, detailed fracture analysis
using borehole image data from the Timor Sea area
indicates a relatively sparse population of these natural
fractures.

PROOFS2/2 7 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 20001

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

Stress Map of the Timor Sea Area


126

10

127

Australian-Indonesian
Convergence Direction
(after Wilson et al, 1998)

10

Kelp-1
Kelp Deep-1

ZOCA 91-01

Barnacle-1

Hydra-1

10

or
Tim

Isla

nd
Zoca 91-01

Zone of
Cooperation
Bathurst Is.

AC/P8
& AC/P16

Claudea-1
Jahal-1

Vidalia-1
C-1

Zoca 91-12

Darwin

TIMOR SEA

L-1
AUSTRALIA

Alaria-1

AC/P8

Mandar-1

15

L-2

AC/L5

Naga-1

H-1

500 km

Buffalo-1

ZOCA 91-12

Squilla-1

Krill-1

125

AC/P16

130

Fannie Bay-1

WA-260-P

Lameroo-1

Kakatua
North-1
Kakatua-1

Mandorah-1

EW-1

E-2

Basilisk-1

Elang-1
Elang-3

Ludmilla-1
Sandang-1

Mindil-1

11

Undan-4 U-1

Nancar-1

Banka Banka-1

Flamingo-1

Fulica-1

Bayu-4
B-2

Fohn-1

Mistral-1

11

B-1

B-5

Mallee East-1

Undan-2

U-3 B-3

50 km

Iris-1

Lorikeet-1

Kittiwake-1

Keppler-1

Drake-1
Jarrah-1

127

126

Maximum Principle Horizontal Stress (this study)


Maximum Principle Horizontal Stress (after Castillo et al, 1998)
Figure 1. Regional stress map of the Timor Sea area based on data within AC/P8 and AC/P16 and ZOCA. Stress indicators are represented
by the inward-facing arrows showing the direction of the maximum principal horizontal stress (SHmax) in the ZOCA 9101 and ZOCA
9112 areas (black stress indicators) after Castillo et al, 1998, and for the AC/P8 and AC/16 area (red stress indicators) based on this study.
The black/white earthquake focal mechanism solution for the August 10, 1997 M6.3 Cockatoo Earthquake indicates nearly pure strike-slip
fault movement on either NNESSW or NWSE nodal planes. The large blue arrow represents the convergence direction between Australia
and Indonesia (Wilson et al, 1998). Well names abbreviations: Undan1 (e.g., U1) and Bayu2 (e.g. B2).
Alternatively, the faults with high trap integrity are
likely to be those associated with seals whose fine-grained
material, formed in grain-reduction process during the
fault slip history, remains intact or unbroken. Assuming
hydrocarbon source and migration pathways are present,
successful charge and fill of fault traps would likely be
possible if the fault zone seal material behaved as an
impermeable barrier that prevented further migration.
If the fault becomes critically stressed with respect to the
ambient stress field during the charge period or
subsequent to being charged, there is a high probability
that the fault will slip and rupture the lateral seal;
thereby increasing fault zone permeability and enabling
hydrocarbons to be discharged from the reservoir.
Previous reservoir stress studies in the Timor Sea
(Castillo et al, 1998) and North Sea (Wiprut and Zoback,
submitted) have shown that trap integrity along the
reservoir-bounding faults is partly controlled by the
interactions between fault geometry, the principal stress

2APPEA JOURNAL 2000

directions and magnitudes, and pore pressure. This


paper reports the results of an integrated study of the
AC/P8 and AC/P16 areas by Woodside Energy Limited,
Shell Development Australia and GeoMechanics
International (GMI) to formulate a geomechancial model
for the region; which has been interpreted in context
with detailed fault images based on 3D seismic data
collected within the Corallina and Laminaria Fields
within the greater AC/P8 area; and the Fannie Bay,
Lameroo, Ludmilla structures in the greater AC/P16 area
(Figs 1 and 2).

REGIONAL SETTING
The AC/P8 and AC/P16 blocks lie within the Bonaparte
Basin in the central Timor Sea, between Timor Island and
the coast of northern Australia. These blocks comprise a
significant portion of the regional Londonderry High
(Figs 1 and 2). The Laminaria High, where the Laminaria

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

AC/P8 and AC/P16


REGIONAL TECTONIC ELEMENTS and STRESS MAP
126 E

125.5 E

SABO

Australian-Indonesian
Convergence Direction

RABE
0

10

20

Barnacle - 1

LAMINARIA HIGH

30 km

10.5 S
Claudea - 1

Vidalia - 1

ZOCA 91-01
Jahal

Corallina

Jahal -1,1ST1

Laminaria
Alaria - 1

Laminaria East - 1

Laminaria - 1,2,4

AC/P 8

ACL/5

Laminaria - 3,3ST1

Halimeda - 1

AC/P 16

Buffalo - 1

Petalonia
Prospect

Buffalo

Krill
Fannie Bay - 1

NANCAR TROUGH
Lameroo - 1

Bluff - 1

Mandorah - 1

Buller - 1
Cleia - 1

Ludmilla - 1

AC/P 15
Mindil - 1

11 S

C
TR ART
O IE
UG R
H

Nancar - 1,1ST1

Mallee East - 1
Banka Banka- 1

Fulica - 1

AC/P 4
(3)

MALLEE TERRACE
Kittiwake - 1

WA-260-P

Lorikeet - 1

Voltaire - 1

Dillon Shoals - 1

AC/P 4
(3)

Marrakai - 1
Jarrah - 1,1A

Keppler - 1

Drake - 1

Norquay - 1

AC97-1

Avocet - 2
Avocet - 1,1A

Garganey - 1

Eider - 1

WA-284-P
Barita - 1

ECHO
SYNCLINE
Stork - 1

Medusa - 1

LONDONDERRY
HIGH

LEGEND
Depth (m)
1500

Oilfield
Prospect

2000
Major Fault
2500

W97-2
3000

Tancred - 1
3500
Turnstone - 1

SHmax

(APTIAN UNCONFORMITY)

A U S T R A L I A N

E N E R G Y

GMI

Figure 2. Depth map at the top of the Aptian Unconformity (Early Cretaceous Darwin Formation) in the AC/P8 and AC/P16 study area
showing SHmax stress orientation. The inward-facing arrows correspond to the direction of the maximum principal horizontal stress
(SHmax) inferred from wellbore failure in the respective wells.

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 20003

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

and Corallina Fields in the AC/P8 (and AC/L5) are situated


within the northern reaches of the Bonaparte Basin, is
characterised by a small, eastwest oriented drowned
platform-remnant similar to the Sahul platform along
the eastern margins of the ZOCA area (Figs 1 and 2).
Further south, the AC/P16 block contains the northern
part of the Londonderry High, most of the Nancar Trough
and the southern flank of the Laminaria High.
The Bonaparte Basin was initiated as part of a multiphase rift event starting in Palaeozoic time, which resulted
in widespread subsidence and the formation of a
pronounced and complex structural fabric of NE-SW and
N-S trending faults (Schuster et al, 1998; Bishop and
OBrien, 1998). The Triassic period was a time of N-S
wrench-type transpressional reactivation of the major
basin-bounding faults in the greater Bonaparte Basin. By
the Middle-Late Jurassic, the area had undergone major
NWSE extension that produced a dominant NESW
structural fault fabric. This fabric effectively defined
the reservoir depositional centres represented by the
reservoirs present in the AC/P8 and AC/P16 blocks.
North-south extension in the Late Jurassic to Early
Cretaceous resulted in the development of EW trending
normal faults that are pervasive throughout the AC/P8,
AC/P16, and ZOCA areas. This E-W fault fabric that
formed during the rifting phase comprises the primary
trap-bounding faults associated with exploration targets
in AC/P8 and AC/P16.
Beginning in Late Miocene (at about 35 Ma), and
continuing to the present day, the area was transformed
to a collisional setting as a result of oblique convergence
between the Australian and Eurasian plates. The recent
GPS (Global Positioning System) GEODYSSEA Survey
between 1994 and 1996 (Wilson et al, 1998; Simmons et
al., submitted) in southeast Asia, Indonesia, PNG, and
Australia indicates that there is differential motion
occurring between Timor Island and the Australian
mainland. The present day convergence direction
between Australia and Indonesia is about 27N (Wilson
et al, 1998; Simmons et al, submitted). Considering the
Eurasian plate as a fixed reference frame, Timor Island
is moving in this direction at about 62 mm/yr, while
Australia is moving at about 75 mm/yr, implying that the
Australian continent is travelling about 20% faster than
Timor Island. The major tectonic expressions of this
convergence in the Indonesia area are the partial
subduction of the Australian plate, pervasive reverse
faulting, and the development of an accretionary prism
on Timor Island. Several major NESW left-lateral strikeslip faults that span the Banda Arc-Timor Sea provide
supportive evidence of oblique convergence (e g. Sumba
Fracture Zone). Strike-slip faulting appears to be
contemporaneous based on the 1997 M6.3 Cockatoo
Earthquake.
Exploration wells within AC/P8 and AC/P16 have
targeted Middle to Upper Jurassic sandstone reservoirs
in structural traps on the margins of the Nancar Trough
and Laminaria High (Fig. 2). With the exception of the
Laminaria and Corallina discoveries, the drilling program
has been disappointing. The Barnacle1, Vidalia1, and

4APPEA JOURNAL 2000

Claudea1 wells (Fig. 1) encountered little to no direct


evidence for hydrocarbon shows, implying a lack of
charge to these structures. Ludmilla1, which tested a
Nancar Sandstone Member tilted fault-block closure,
encountered a 4 m live oil column overlying a 5070 m
long residual oil column. The Mandorah1 well (Fig. 1)
tested a Montara/Laminaria Formation tilted fault-block
closure but failed to encounter any hydrocarbons. The
structure is interpreted to have had access to oil charge,
but the lack of recoverable hydrocarbons is attributed to
either the inability of the bounding faults to support a
hydrocarbon column or a leaky fault along the migration
pathway. Fannie Bay1 and Lameroo1 tested the
Laminaria Formation in two distinct tilted fault-block
closures and were found to be water-bearing with residual
oil saturations only. Both structures are interpreted as
having retained sizeable oil columns (in the case of
Fannie Bay-1, in excess of 80 m) which have since leaked.
The Mindil-1 well was drilled along the structural trend
of the Ludmilla1 oil discovery. The well failed to
encounter any moveable oil, although the possible
presence of residual hydrocarbons is suggested from
logs. A detailed description of the hydrocarbon
exploration history of the Nancar/Laminaria area of the
Timor Sea, can be found in De Ruig et al, (this volume).

STRESS ANALYSIS METHOD


Determining the relationship between the seismicallydetected regional faults and the in-situ state of stress
involves constructing a well-constrained geomechanical
model. This was accomplished by reviewing available
drilling information, pressure data, and high-resolution
microresistivity and ultrasonic wellbore images from
over 15 wells to determine the magnitudes and
orientations of the principal tectonic stresses (SHmax,
Shmin and Sv) and pore pressure (Pp) distribution within
the AC/P8 and AC/16 areas. The magnitude of the greatest
principal horizontal stress (SHmax) was calculated using
GMISFIB (Stress and Failure of Inclined Boreholes)
by forward modelling the style of stress-induced
compressive and tensile wellbore wall failure as observed
in each of these wells. The orientation of the greatest
horizontal principal stress is parallel to that of tensile
failures (tensile wall fractures) and perpendicular to
that of compressive failures (breakouts) in these nearvertical wells. The magnitude of the least principal
horizontal stress (Shmin) was determined from extended
leak-off tests (XLOT) and leak-off tests (LOT), while the
magnitude of the vertical stress (Sv) was simply calculated
based on density data collected in several representative
wells.
For a more complete description of the methodology
used in this study, the following original references
based on applying these techniques worldwide are helpful
(Haimson and Fairhurst, 1967; Bell and Gough, 1979;
Zoback and Healy, 1984; Plumb and Hickman, 1985;
Zoback et al, 1985; Moos and Zoback, 1990; Zoback and
Healy, 1992; Barton et al, 1995; Castillo and Zoback,
1994; Peska and Zoback, 1995; Barton et al, 1998).

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

Table 1. Stress directions, magnitudes and UCS derived from breakouts and drilling-induced tensile wall fractures observed within the AC/
P8, AC/16, AC/L5, and surrounding areas. STAR: Simultaneous Acoustic and Resistivity; FMI: Formation MicroImager; FMS: Formation
MicroScanner; HDT: 4-Arm Dipmeter Tool. (For locations see Figs. 1 and 2)
Well
Name
Alaria-1
Banka Banka1
Cleia1
Claudea1
Corallina1

Fannie Bay1

Fulica1

Halimeda1

Jarrah1
Keppler1

Kittiwake1

Lameroo1

Laminaria1
Laminaria2

Laminaria3
Laminaria East1
Lorikeet1
Ludmilla1

Mallee East1
Mandorah1
Nancar1
Vidalia1

Image
Data

SHmax
Stress
Direction

Depth
mTVD

Shmin
(observed)
MPa

SHmax
(modelled)
MPa

Co
modelled
MPa

STAR
FMI
*
STAR
*
FMS

15N 1
27N 6
*
7N 1
*
11N 4

STAR
*
*
*
*
HDT
*
*

62N 2
*
*
*
*
67N 7
*
*

2400
*
2115
2750
2900
883
2612
3150
3250
3300
*
3007
3340
3430
4100
*
1634
2100

*
*
31.71
41.48
*
10.99
36.40
*
*
*
*
45.38
*
*
*
*
20.14
*

55.50 5.0
*
*
*
79.01 7.84
*
*
72.90 7.40
76.44 7.63
77.72 7.72
*
*
78.73 5.42
81.13 5.43
97.71 4.34
*
*
48.00 8.71

85 15
*
*
*
120 25
*
*
80 10
100 25
102 22
*
*
55 25
32 17
130 20
*
*
55 20

STAR
*
*
*
*
*
FMS
*
FMS
*
*
FMS
*
*
STAR

12N 5
*
*
*
*
*
no failure
*
36N 4
*
*
77N 4
*
*
72N 4

*
2900
3000
3200
3300
3400
*
1805
*
1153
1620
*
2395
2416
*
915
2959
3885
3900
3926
889
2653
*
2406
3300
3350
3400
2645
2815
*
1614
*
2160
3200
3500
1772
3016
2040
*
797
2699
1150
2000
2400
2950

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
30.42
*
16.64
*
*
34.37
*
*
10.31
44.82
*
*
*
10.80
36.18
*
31.65
*
*
*
37.58
38.62
*
25.15
*
30.23
*
*
26.05
46.94
30.79
*
10.39
38.26
*
*
*
*

*
*
*
*
37.35
*
*
58.55
*
*
*
91.00
91.97
92.90
*
*
*
*
76.20
77.48
78.84
*
*
*
*
*
*
81.42
89.27
*
*
*
*
*
*
25.28
45.98
58.11
73.70

*
20
15
20
22
20
*
*
*
*
50 10
*
*
80 20
*
*
*
83 13
105 20
70 10
*
*
*
*
82 22
90 20
95 20
*
*
*
*
*
*
95 35
72 28
*
*
*
*
*
*
34 8
56 16
75 15
95 25

*
*
FMI
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

*
*
24N 2
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

STAR
*

53N 4
*

*
*
*
STAR
*
*
*
*
*
*

*
*
*
19N 6
*
*
*
*
*
*

76.60
70.08
76.60
77.45
79.96

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

6.97
7.08
6.97
7.41
7.48

3.65

5.57

5.71
5.07
5.30

6.16
6.28
6.37

7.02
6.61

2.30
5.98
5.32
5.47

40
37
60
62
55

APPEA JOURNAL 20005

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

AC/P8 AND AC/P16 STRESS STATE


Over 5000 cumulative metres of high-resolution
wireline log image data and four-arm caliper data have
been reviewed in order to identify stress-induced
compressive and tensile wellbore failures in about 15
wells within AC/P8, AC/16 and surrounding areas. This
information provided the basis upon which to build the
geomechancial model. To accurately assess the uniformity
of the stress field, we supplemented this study with
analysis of pressure data, well logs, and other data from
over 22 wells in the area. Results indicate that the
greater AC/P8 and AC/P16 area is generally characterised
by a strike-slip faulting regime (SHmax > Sv > Shmin) in
which the vertical stress is the intermediate stress.
Pressure data and drilling information indicates that the
pore pressure regime within the reservoir is approximately hydrostatic throughout the area.

SHmax stress orientation


The quality of the image data ranged from good to
excellent. Representative examples of wellbore failure
seen in the analysed wells include the drilling-induced
tensile wall fractures from Laminaria2 (Fig. 3), and
wellbore breakouts from Claudea1 (Fig. 4) and
Lameroo1 (Fig. 5). In addition to the wellbore breakouts
shown in Figures 4 and 5, tensile wall fractures were also
seen elsewhere in these wells and were oriented close to
90 degrees to the direction of the breakouts. Despite the
regional variation in SHmax stress directions, each
particular well indicated a relatively uniform stress
orientation from about 1,000 to 4,000 mTVD. Wellbore
breakouts in these study wells were relatively symmetric
with breakout widths ranging from 40 to 70. The
breakout width describes the angular coverage of the
borehole wall that failed in compression resulting in the
rock spalling from the wellbore.
The orientation of the maximum principal horizontal
stress (SHmax) varies systematically between the AC/P8
and AC/P16 blocks (Fig. 1). Details of SHmax stress
orientations from the individual wells were analysed
using azimuthal statistics (Mardia, 1972) and are listed in
Table 1. The regional SHmax stress direction in AC/P8
(Laminaria High) is 15N 6 (Fig. 6a); while further
south in AC/P16, the SHmax stress direction changes to
about 63N 6 (Fig. 6b). This marked transition occurs
along the northern reaches of the Nancar Trough (Fig. 1).
The SHmax stress direction in the northern part of the
study are is remarkably sub-parallel to other stress
indicators seen in the northern section of ZOCA (Castillo
et al, 1998) as well as being sub-parallel to the relative
convergence direction between Indonesia and Australia
(Figs. 1 and 2). This transition in SHmax stress orientation
to the south is nearly identical to the stress rotation
previously reported for the western part of ZOCA (Castillo
et al, 1998).
The systematic variation in SHmax stress directions
between the AC/P8 and AC/P16 areas is not clearly
understood. That the regional SHmax stress direction in

6APPEA JOURNAL 2000

Laminaria-2 (FMI)

3305 m

D
E
P 3310 m
T
H

3315 m

Drilling-Induced Tensile Wall Fractures

Figure 3. Example of FMI image data from Laminaria2 showing


tensile wall fractures, as indicated by their highly conductive nature
(dark colour).
AC/P8 (Laminaria High) area is sub-parallel to the
convergence direction between Australia and Indonesia
(Fig. 2), suggests that present-day horizontal plate motion
direction influences the direction of the maximum
horizontal principal stress in this area. The marked
rotation in SHmax beginning in the Nancar Trough and
continuing into the Londonderry High suggests that
other mechanisms are responsible for the systematic
variation in stress directions seen in the greater AC/P16
area. Interestingly, the relatively uniform SHmax stress
direction seen within the Nancar Trough and Mallee
Terrace appear to be systematically different from
directions seen in the Cartier Trough and Londonderry

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

Claudea-1 (STAR)
Resistivity
N

Ultrasonic
N

2922 m
D
E
P
T
H

Wellbore
Breakouts

2924 m

Natural Fracture

Amplitude

Travel Time

Figure 4. Example of STAR image data from Ludmilla1 showing wellbore breakouts as indicated by the vertical dark regions of the
borehole. Sinusoidal feature on the amplitude and travel-time images are natural fractures.
High area (Fig. 2). The generalised SHmax stress direction
in the Nancar Trough and Mallee Terrace is approximately
65N, while SHmax in the Cartier Trough and
Londonderry High is about 30N. This regional variation
may be related to a major transition in the regional fault
trends at the Aptian Unconformity level. Faults in the
Nancar Trough and Mallee Terrace area trend roughly
EW, while in the Cartier Trough and Londonderry High
area the prevailing fault trend is NESW (Fig. 2). This
mutually-systematic rotation in both the SHmax stress
direction and regional fault trends in the greater AC/P16
area would suggest that the regional tectonic patterns
are influencing the regional stress state. A more thorough
examination of the stress state in the AC/P4 area
(southwest of AC/P16) and ZOCA 9616 (east of 9112)
may help understand if these apparent stress provinces
distinct from the northern part of the study area, are
influenced by fault geometry .

Pore pressure, vertical stress, and Shmin

Direct measurements of formation pore pressure (Pp)


in AC/P8 and AC/P16 on wells analysed in this study are
limited. Reservoir formation pore pressure was generally
considered to be normal and estimated to range between
1.03 and 1.04 SG. The vertical principal stress (Sv) was
determined by integrating density logs collected in AC/
P8 and AC/P16 wells.
The magnitude of the regional minimum horizontal
principal stress (Shmin) in AC/P8, (including AC/L5),
AC/P16 and surrounding areas is inferred from formation
integrity tests (FIT) in five wells, LOTs in 13 wells, and an
XLOT in Claudea1 (Figs 7 and 8, Table 1). A FIT
generally provides only a lower bound on the fracture
gradient, which may not be equivalent to the minimum
principal stress. In the case of AC/P8, the Shmin stress
magnitude can be assumed to be approximately equal to
the leak off pressure because LOT results from these
vertical wells indicate a fracture gradient that is lower
than the vertical stress. The most robust measurement of
Shmin in the AC/P8 area was collected during an XLOT
in the Claudea-1 well at a depth of about 2750 mTVD.
Stress profiles of pore pressure, vertical stress and Shmin

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 20007

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

Lameroo-1 (STAR)
Ultrasonic
(amplitude)

Resistivity
N

3925 m

D
E
P 3920 m
T
H

StressInduced
Wellbore
Breakouts

3915 m

Figure 5. Example of STAR image data from Lameroo1 showing


wellbore breakouts as indicated by the dark vertical regions of the
borehole.
values for the study area are shown in Figures 7 and 8,
respectively. Without exception all measurements (FIT,
LOT, and XLOT) indicate an Shmin that is considerably
less than the vertical stress. The thin dashed line in
Figures 7 and 8 represents a best fitting approximation of
Shmin placing more weight on the LOT and XLOT rather
than the FIT, for reasons described above. These results
quantify four of the five unknown parameters of the insitu stress field (the magnitudes of Sv, Pp, Shmin, and the
orientation of SHmax). To determine the remaining
parameter (the magnitude of the maximum horizontal
stress, SHmax) requires a more detailed analysis of
wellbore failures from image logs.
However, it is possible to use the existing data to
predict whether SHmax is greater or less than Sv, based
on the ratio between the effective vertical and least
horizontal stresses. For instance, frictional constraints
on the differential effective stress magnitudes are limited
by re-occurring slip on optimally-oriented faults assuming
a Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria (Jaeger and Cook,
1979), namely
(S1-Pp)/(S3-Pp) [( 2+1)1/2 + ]2

8APPEA JOURNAL 2000

(1)

where is the coefficient of friction and S1 > S3. In


seismically active regions, in-situ stress measurements
using hydraulic fracturing techniques have confirmed
that these laboratory constraints on stress magnitudes
are generally correct using values between 0.6 and 1.0
(Byerlee, 1978; McGarr, 1980; Zoback and Healy, 1984;
Zoback and Healy, 1992). In this paper we have used
=0.7, well within the 0.6-1.0 range observed by Byerlee
(1978).
Applying this to the top of the Laminaria (or Nancar)
Formation at an average depth of 3,200 m, the frictional
equilibrium relationship between Pp, Shmin, and Sv is
(Sv-Pp)/(Shmin-Pp) ~ 2.62 (Jaeger and Cook, 1979). This
is significantly less than a value that would cause slip
along optimally-oriented faults in a normal faulting stress
regime based on laboratory-derived coefficients of friction
(Byerlee, 1978). Therefore, while a least principal stress
that is less than the vertical stress could indicate a
normal faulting stress regime (i.e. Sv > SHmax > Shmin),
we will show next that the style of wellbore failure seen
in AC/P8, AC/P16 and surrounding blocks can not be
explained by a normal faulting stress regime. In particular,
we find that a strike-slip stress regime (i.e. SHmax > Sv
> Shmin) is not only consistent with the style of wellbore
failure, but is also consistent with local tectonics
associated with present-day convergence between the
Australian and the Indonesian plates (Wilson et al, 1998;
Shuster et al, 1998; Simmons et al, submitted), and recent
earthquake activity (National Earthquake Information
Center web site, Fredrich et al, 1988).

Absolute magnitude of SHmax


To constrain SHmax stress magnitudes, we use the
GMISFIB module CSTR (Constrain Stress) at several
depths between about 1,000 and 4,100 mTVD in AC/P8
and AC/P16 to forward model the compressive (breakouts)
and tensile (tensile wall fractures) wellbore failure seen
in the various wells (Figs 3, 4 and 5). We also used
GMISFIB module BSFO (Borehole Stress and Failure
Orientation) to evaluate explicitly how borehole
geometry, rock strength, and stress conditions at the
borehole wall lead to the observed style of wellbore
failure. Additional input parameters required for this
analysis included the magnitudes of Sv and Shmin, Pp,
the mud weight, temperature, and wellbore trajectory.
Figures 9 and 10 show representative examples of how
GMISFIB was used in this study.
Figure 9 presents the results of the analysis for the
Claudea1 well at about 2,900 mTVD where tensile wall
cracks were detected, but no breakouts were observed.
The figure plots the magnitude of Shmin on the x-axis and
the magnitude of SHmax on the y-axis. The polygon
constrains the horizontal stress magnitudes assuming
the crust is in frictional equilibrium (Equation 1).The
blue contours represent the magnitudes of the two
horizontal stresses required to induce tensile failure for
a given tensile strength (contours) and drilling conditions.
Because drilling-induced tensile fractures were observed

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

a)

c)

SHmax = 63 6 N

SHmax = 15 6 N
0
330

0
30

118.5 m

330

30

203.0 m
152.2 m

60

300

59.2 m

300

60

101.5 m

50.7 m

90

270

240

120

210

90

270

240

120

210

150
180

b)

150
180

d)

AC/P8
300

AC/P16

150
15 6N

63 6N

200

Frequency

Frequency

250

150
100

100

50

50
0

45

90
135
SHmax Azimuth, N

180

45

90
135
SHmax Azimuth, N

180

Figure 6. a) Rose diagram and b) associated histogram showing the regional SHmax stress direction based on all stress indicators seen
in the wells analysed in the AC/P8 area. Over 500 m of cumulative wellbore failure suggests that the regional SHmax stress direction is 15
6 N. c) Rose diagram and d) associated histogram showing the regional SHmax stress direction based on all stress indicators seen in the
wells analysed in the AC/P16 area. Over 450 m of cumulative wellbore failure suggests that the regional SHmax stress direction is 63
6 N.
in this interval, the stresses must lie above the blue
contour corresponding to a finite effective tensile strength
of the rock. In the absence of strength measurements,
the contour corresponding to To=0 provides a lower
bound on SHmax. The least horizontal stress, constrained
by XLOT and LOTs is predicted to be approximately 43.7

MPa. The combination of the frictional faulting constraint


and the constraint imposed by the presence of tensile
failures limits the magnitude of SHmax at this depth to
be 79.0 +/- 7.8 MPa. The red contours delineate the
unconfined compressive strength required to prevent
breakouts from occurring for the given magnitudes of the

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 20009

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

AC/P8
Stress Magnitudes

500
1000
1500

Depth (mlss)

V-1

2000

Po
Sv
Shmin
Cleia-1 (LOT)
Claudea-1 (XLOT)
Corallina-1 (LOT)
Laminaria-1 (FIT)
Laminaria-2 (FIT)
Laminaria-3 (LOT)
Laminaria East-1 (FIT)
Vidalia (LOT)
Alaria-1 SHmax
Claudea-1 SHmax
Corallina-1 SHmax
Halimeda-1 SHmax
Laminaria-2 SHmax
Vidalia-1 SHmax

Pp

2500

H-1 CL-1

SHmax

L-5

3000

L-2

3500
A-1 CR-1

FMI

STAR

4000

Shmin

Sv

Image Data
Analyzed

4500
0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120


Stress (MPa)

Figure 7. Profile of stress magnitudes inferred from data collected in the AC/P8 (and AC/L5 Laminaria Area). The pore pressure gradient
is 1.03 SG. Minimum horizontal stress (Shmin) measurements are considerably less than the vertical stress (Sv). The vertical stress is based
on integration of the density log. The Shmin gradient, represented by the dashed line is primarily constrained by the most robust data types
(e.g. LOT and XLOT). Results indicate that the AC/P8 area is associated with a strike-slip stress regime (SHmax > Sv > Shmin). Well
abbreviations: Alaria1 (A1), Vidalia1 (V1), Halimeda1 (H1), Corallina1 (CR1), Claudea1 (CL1), Laminaria2 (L2) and Laminaria
5 (L5).
two horizontal stresses at this depth. The absence of
breakouts in this interval requires that the unconfined
compressive strength must be greater than 95 MPa (Fig.
9 and Table 1).
Figure 10 shows a forward model of drilling-induced
compressive (wellbore breakouts) and tensile (tensile
wall fractures) failure seen in the Lameroo-1 well at
10APPEA JOURNAL 2000

about 3,900 mTVD. The resultant stress distribution


around the borehole is shown in Figure 10a, indicating
that breakouts would be about 55 degrees wide, which is
consistent with the breakouts seen in the STAR image
data. Breakouts will occur when the maximum
circumferential stress exceeds the uniaxial compressive
strength of the rock. sThe missing colours in Figure 10a

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

AC/P16
Stress Magnitudes

500
1000
1500

Depth (mlss)

F-1 K-1
J-1

2000

Po
Sv
Shmin
Fannie Bay-1 (LOT)
Fulica-1 (FIT)
Jarrah-1 (FIT)
Keppler-1 (LOT)
Kittiwake-1 (LOT)
Lameroo-1 (LOT)
Lorikeet-1 (LOT)
Ludmilla-1 (LOT)
Mallee East-1 (LOT)
Mandorah-1 (LOT)
Nancar-1 (LOT)
Fannie Bay-1 SHmax
Fulica-1 SHmax
Keppler-1 SHmax
Kittiwake-1 SHmax
Lameroo-1 SHmax
Ludmilla-1 SHmax

BB-1

2500
HDT

FMS

SHmax

KW-1

3000

LR-1

3500

FB-1

STAR

4000
Image Data
Analyzed

Pp S
hmin

Sv

4500
0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120


Stress (MPa)

Figure 8. Profile of stress magnitudes inferred from data collected in AC/P16. The pore pressure gradient is 1.03 SG above 3000 m and
1.04 SG below 3000 m, based on well completion reports. FIT and LOT indicate that the minimum horizontal stress (Shmin) measurements
are considerably less than the vertical stress (Sv). The vertical stress is based on integration of the density log. The Shmin gradient,
represented by the dashed line is primarily constrained by the most robust data types (e.g., LOT) which actually propagated an hydraulic
fracture away from the borehole. The ranges of the maximum horizontal stress (SHmax) were calculated based on the style of wellbore
failure seen in image logs in each respective well. Results indicate that the AC/P16 area is associated with a strike-slip stress regime (SHmax
> Sv > Shmin). Well abbreviations: Banka Banka1 (BB1), Fannie Bay1 (FB1), Lameroo1 (L1), Kittiwake1 (KW1), Jarrah1 (J1),
Kellper1 (K1), and Fulica1 (F1).
correspond to sections in the near-wellbore region that
would be in tension, which is also consistent with
observations of the drilling-induced tensile wall fractures
in Lameroo-1. Figure 10b is a modelled unwrapped
view of the borehole wall showing the location and width

of the breakouts as they are seen in image data. Figure


10c is, again, a model of the borehole wall, and plots the
position of the inclined tensile wall fractures as they
appear within the Lameroo1 well.
Modelling wellbore failure in the Claudea1,

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 200011

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

Claudea-1 @ 2900 mTVD

Tensile Wall Fractures

STRESS STATE CONSTRAINED BY FRICTIONAL STRENGTH (POLYGON)


AND BY OCCURRENCE OF BOREHOLE FAILURE (CONTOURS).
Breakouts in red, wall-fractures in blue color.
0

SHmax (MPa)

140

RF

200

120
180

200

100

SS

SHmax =
79.01
80
7.84 MPa

40

100

120

80

NF

Sv =
60.52 MPa

-2
-10
0 0

60

160
140

180

Shmin =
43.67 MPa
40

60

80
100
Shmin (MPa)

Sv = 60.52 MPa Azi = 345 degN wBO = 0


aziSH = 10 degN Dev = 3 deg
IntFric = 1
DeltaP = 2.27 MPaSliFric = 0.75

120

140

Pp = 29.27 MPa
Biot = 1
PoisRat = 0.25

DeltaT = -10 DegC


Alpha = 2.4e-06
E = 20 GPa

Figure 9. Stress state for the Claudea1 well at a depth of 2,900 mTVD. No wellbore breakouts were observed but tensile wall fractures
were detected. The presence of tensile failures requires that the stress state lies above the blue lines. Shmin values, determined from the
XLOT performed in the Claudea1 well at 2750 MD and LOT performed in nearby wells (Fig. 4), restrict the allowable range of SHmax
magnitudes to between 71.2 and 86.8 MPa. The lack of breakouts requires that UCS > 95 MPa.
Lameroo1 and other wells in the greater AC/P8 and AC/
P16 areas, reveals that the magnitude of SHmax is
consistently in excess of Sv (Figs 7, 8, 9, 10, and Table 1).
This implies that this section of the Timor Sea area is
subject to a strike-slip stress regime (SHmax > Sv >
Shmin). This strike-slip stress state is consistent with
results from a regional trap integrity study (Castillo et al,
1998) where it was found that a strike-slip stress regime
exists within ZOCA 9101 and much of ZOCA 9112,
12APPEA JOURNAL 2000

which is also consistent with recent strike-slip earthquake


activity (e.g. 1997 M6.3 Cockatoo Earthquake). Inferences
based on structure, kinematic, and geodetic studies also
suggest that the Timor Sea Area is subject to oblique
convergence between Australia and Timor Island,
resulting in strike-slip deformation (Shuster et al, 1998;
Wilson et al, 1998; Simmons et al, submitted).

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

Stress Distribution in
Borehole Cross-Section

a)

SHmax
BO

wBO =
55 deg
BO

Missing color indicates


zones in tension

50

100

Required C0 (MPa)

Compressive Failure
on Borehole Image

b)
N

40

60

BO
Inclined
Tensile
Wall
Fractures

Depth

Depth

BO

Tensile Failure
on Borehole Image

c)

BREAKOUT WIDTH = 55 degrees

50

100

Required C0 (MPa)

-20

20

Required T0 (MPa)

Figure 10. Predicted wellbore breakout (BO) to constrain SHmax that is consistent with the observed drilling-induced wellbore breakouts
at 3926 mTVD in the Lameroo1 well. The borehole cross-section a) shows the effective borehole circumferential stress distribution. The
results of forward modelling an unwrapped view of a borehole image for b) compressive failure and c) tensile wall failure is consistent with
the observed failure seen in Lameroo1.

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 200013

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

Corallina Structure

a)

Normalized Coulomb Failure Function and Critical Pp


as a Function of Fracture Orientation
2500

SHmax

Corallina North
Dipping Fault
Surface

3000

Sv
Shmin
Depth (metres)

3500

Critically-Stressed
Seismic Fault Segments
CFF/Sv

4000

Pp/Sv

-0.3 -0.2 -0.1

0.6

0.8

= 0.6
4500

Tau/Sv

Mohr Diagram

5000
Stress (MPa)

Pp

Dip(degrees)

(Sn - Pp)/Sv

SHmax

Shmin
Sv

b)

Normalized Coulomb Failure Function and Critical Pp


as a Function of Fracture Orientation
SHmax

2500

Corallina South
Dipping Fault
Surface

3000

Sv

Depth (metres)

Shmin
3500

Critically-Stressed
Seismic Fault Segments
CFF/Sv

4000

Pp/Sv

-0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0

0.6

0.8

= 0.6

Mohr Diagram

Tau/Sv

4500

5000
Stress (MPa)

Pp

Shmin

SHmax
Sv

Dip(degrees)

(Sn - Pp)/Sv

Figure 11. Calculated stress state resolved on a) the southwest trap-bounding fault and b) the northwest trap-bounding fault for the
Corallina Field. These structural fault surfaces, based on 3D seismic data, were defined as individual elements or polygons. Far left plot shows
the principal stress and pore pressure model. The natural fractures are indicated in three different styles: tadpoles (second from left; lower
hemisphere stereographic projection; and 3D Mohr diagram including the Coulomb frictional failure line corresponding to coefficient of
friction (m=0.6). The red and white dots represent the critically-stressed elements of the fault plane.

14APPEA JOURNAL 2000

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

Lameroo Fault Surface


Normalized Coulomb Failure Function and Critical Pp
as a Function of Fracture Orientation

3000

SHmax

4000

Depth (metres)

Sv

Critically-Stressed
Seismic Fault Segments

5000

Shmin
CFF/Sv
-0.4

Pp/Sv

-0.2

0.6 0.8 1 1.2


= 0.6

6000

Tau/Sv

Mohr Diagram

7000
Stress (MPa)

Dip(degrees)

SHmax
Shmin
Pp
Sv

(Sn - Pp)/Sv

Figure 12. Calculated stress state resolved on structural faults based on 3D seismic data in the Lameroo area. Figure description same
as Figure 11.

DISCUSSION: IMPLICATIONS FOR FAULT


TRAP INTEGRITY IN THE AC/P8 AND AC/P16
AREAS
Many of the wells drilled in the AC/P8, AC/P16, ZOCA,
and surrounding regions encountered significant residual
oil columns, implying that the associated fault trap
structures were optimally suited for hydrocarbon charge
and retention early in the charge history. This would
further imply that the faults bounding these reservoirs
were not previously critically-stressed, thus preserving
the fault seal gouge material (formed by cataclastic
grain-reducing processes associated with slip) within the
fault zone. Subsequent to hydrocarbon charge and oblique
collision between Australia and Indonesia (Shuster et al,
1998), hydrocarbon leakage would have occurred along
specific faults that became critically-stressed due to the
change in the stress field.
The ability of a fault to behave as a seal is influenced

in part by the principal stress directions and magnitudes,


fault dip and dip azimuth. If a fault is critically stressed
with respect to the present-day stress field, there is a
high likelihood that the fault will slip, thereby increasing
the fault zone permeability and enabling hydrocarbons
to migrate from the reservoir. To explore this fault-stress
relationship, results of the in-situ stress analysis described
above have been integrated with detailed representations
of the faults interpreted from 3D seismic data from the
AC/P8 and AC/P16 areas. These interpretations of the
reservoir fault surfaces were depth converted and
transformed into a series of connected fault segments,
fully described in terms of a 3D coordinate system, dip
and dip azimuth for each individual segment. The shear
and normal stresses resolved on each of these segments
were calculated using GMIMohrFracs in order to
identify which segments are critically-stressed in the
present-day stress regime.
Fault segments which are critically-stressed are
associated with an applied shear stress that exceeds the

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

APPEA JOURNAL 200015

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

frictional strength of the fault plane. If the difference


between the shear stress and the frictional strength of
the fault is positive, the fault may rupture due to Coulomb
shear failure, which can be expressed as the following
Coulomb Failure Function (Jaeger and Cook, 1979):
(S P ) = CFF
(2)
n
p
where is the applied shear stress, Sn-Pp is the
effective normal stress, is the coefficient of friction
(Byerlee, 1978). The second term in Equation 2 is the
frictional strength of the fault surface.
An overview of two representative fault surfaces in
stress space is shown in Figure 11 (Corallina Field) and
Figure 12 (Fannie Bay). Figure 11 shows model results
for two major faults in the Corallina Field area (Fig. 2).
There are critically-stressed fault segments (red tadpoles,
red poles in the Mohr Diagram and white poles in the
stereographic projection), associated with the northdipping (east-west trending) fault in the Corallina Field.
These critically-stressed segments appear to be restricted
to those few that are steeply-dipping (7075) to the
ENE or NW (Fig. 11a). A similar situation exists for the
south-dipping fault in the Corallina Field (Fig. 11b).
With the exception of the few fault segments that dip to
the southeast, there is a large population of SSE dipping
fault segments which are not optimally oriented for
shear failure. Because SHmax is about 10N in this area
(Fig. 2 and Table 1) and the trend of the primary trapbounding faults is EW, the trap integrity of the overall
reservoir faults appears to be high (CFF is negative),
which is consistent with the presence of hydrocarbon in
the Laminaria and Corallina Fields.
The pervasive presence of these high-angle faults
segments in the Fannie Bay and Lameroo areas indicate
that many of the reservoir-bounding faults may be
critically-stressed. The northward dipping (approximately
E-W trending) reservoir-bounding fault adjacent to the
Lameroo-1 well is shown in Figure 12. This particular
fault segment has a morphologic shape with different
fault dip segments ranging from 50 to 70. The high angle
faults (dip > 60) are better suited for slip failure in a
strike-slip stress regime, while fault segments which dip
< 60 are not optimally oriented for shear failure.
Using 3D visualisation technologies to display the
CFF plotted as fault attributes on the individual fault
surfaces helps to understand this fault-stress relationship.
This analysis provides an opportunity to quantify the
potential for shear failure on different segments of the
fault, and therefore, the likelihood of fault trap failure.
Figures 13 to 16 illustrate how this stress-fault
visualisation analysis was used to evaluate the trap
integrity along the reservoir-bounding fault traps in the
Corallina Field, Fannie Bay, Lameroo and Ludmilla
structures in AC/P8, AC/P16 and surrounding areas.

Corallina and Laminaria Structures in AC/P8


Figure 13 is a oblique perspective view of the Corallina
Field facing northeast, showing the relationship between
the Top Laminaria Formation and the major faults
16APPEA JOURNAL 2000

defining the structural trap. The colour contours on the


3D seimic faults are the CFF fault attributes, based on
the stress analysis described above (Figs. 2 and 7, Table
1). Because the SHmax stress direction is approximately
perpendicular to the east-west trending faults, these
structures are not critically-stressed since the frictional
fault strength of the fault exceeds the applied shear
stress resulting in a CFF that is less than zero (see
Equation 2).
A change in fault geometry, particularly the fault
bounding the Corallina horst to the north, results in a
corresponding change in the CFF resolved on the fault
segment (Fig. 13). The consequence of this change in
fault trend to a southeast dipping structure is a positive
CFF (i.e. critically-stressed segment). Interestingly, this
fault attribute transition from non-critically-stressed to
critically-stressed occurs approximately where the palaeooil-water contact in Corallina, defined on the basis of
Grains Oil Inclusion (GOI) analysis (Fig. 13), implying
that the current stress state may be controlling the
maximum potential hydrocarbon column height in the
Corallina Field over geologic time. Because the MohrCoulomb failure criteria evaluates the static stress state
along a particular fault segment, there may be crack
growth effects related to dynamic fault-slip propagation
linking a stable fault segment that is at the threshold of
shear failure. The current oil-water contact within the
Corallina reservoir is up-dip from the paleo-oil-water
contact, suggesting that there may have been some
dynamic slip propagation along the fault. However, we
cannot rule out the possiblility that temporal variations
in stress and varying episodes of charge have not played
a role in the current hydrocarbon accummulation in the
Corallina Field.
The results for the Laminaria Field also indicate that
the main E-W bounding faults (Fig. 2) are not criticallystressed and would therefore, be capable of supporting
the hydrocarbon column that exists in the field. There is
some limited evidence that a secondary population of
NE-SW trending faults within the reservoir may be
critically-stressed. However, the resolution of the seismic
data does not place strong constraints on the geometry
and extent of these apparently minor fault segments
(Smith et al, 1996).

Fannie Bay and Lameroo Structures in AC/P16


The implications of this stress-fault analysis differ
regionally. Despite the consistency in fault structure
throughout the region (Fig. 2), the rotation in SHmax
from nearly NS in AC/P8 to NESW in AC/P16 produces
an increase in applied shear stress on the ENEWSW
trending faults (compare Figs. 11 and 12). The net result
of the poor fault trap integrity of these charged reservoirs
appears to be a nearly complete discharge of the
hydrocarbons.
Residual oil columns were detected in the Fannie Bay
1 and Lameroo1 wells, implying that at sometime in the
past the major faults were not critically-stressed and

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


FIRST PROOF

Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

AC/P-8 (AC/L-5)
Corallina Structure
Corallina-1
CRITICALLY-STRESSED
FAULT SEGMENTS (Fig. 11b)

g
)
alin . 11a
e
S
g
ity ts (Fi
r
g
e
Int gmen
h
g
Hi ult Se
Fa

OWC

Palaeo OWC

Top Laminaria Formation

Coulomb Failure Function (MPa)


-15

-10

-5

Figure 13. A 3D perspective view of the Corallina Field in AC/P8 (AC/L5) area, looking to the northeast, showing the top of the Laminaria
Formation and the major structural faults mapped from 3D seismic data, defined as a series of connected faults segments. The CFF associated
with each of the faults is contoured as a fault attribute based on the orientation of the individual fault element with respect to the stress
tensor derived from this study (stress direction and absolute stress magnitudes). The dark red contours correspond to positive CFF
(unstable), while orange-green to green corresponds to negative CFF (stable). Also shown is the approximate location of the current and
palaeo-oil-water contact inferred from GOI analysis. This corresponds to where segments of the fault become critically-stressed and
therefore, less likely to behave as an adequate fault seal for trap integrity.
were, therefore, capable of trapping hydrocarbons. A
detailed examination of the major reservoir-bounding
fault within the Fannie Bay structure indicates that the
entire fault is critically-stressed, both above and below
the top Laminaria horizon (Fig. 14). The fault segment
adjacent to the Lameroo structure is critically-stressed
above the horizon, adjacent to the cap rock (Fig. 14). The
fault that once supported a hydrocarbon column in the
Lameroo reservoir, but is now critically-stressed, may
have initiated shear failure within the upper sections of
the fault (adjacent to the cap rock) and subsequently

propagated downward towards fault segments near the


threshold of shear failure (Fig. 14).

Ludmilla and Mindil Structures in AC/P16


Figures 15 and 16 illustrate this methodology applied
to the Ludmilla and Mindil area in AC/P16. These figures
show the top Nancar Formation along with the major
near-vertical faults and well locations. Coloured contours
on the faults are the specific CFF attributes based on the
stress tensor determined in this study. Figure 15a shows

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


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APPEA JOURNAL 200017

D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

AC/P-16
Fannie Bay and Lameroo Structures
CRITICALLY-STRESSED FAULT SEGMENTS

Fannie Bay-1
Lameroo-1

Top
L

amin

aria

N
Fora

mtio

Coulomb Failure Function (MPa)


-15

-10

-5

Figure 14. A 3D perspective view of the Fannie Bay and Lameroo structures looking to the southwest, showing the top of the Laminaria
Formation and the major structural faults inferred from 3D seismic data, defined as a series of connected faults segments. Figure description
same as Figure 13. CFF fault attributes with the primary fault that defines the Fannie Bay structure is critically-stressed for shear failure and,
therefore, less likely to behave as an adequate fault seal for trap integrity. If only the upper sections of the primary fault surface adjacent
to the Lameroo structure (within the cap rock) is critically-stressed, slip along this segment may propagate downward into the reservoir.
a regional overview of the area with the locations of the
Nancar1, Ludmilla1 and Mindil1 wells. The view
direction is to the southwest, sub-parallel to the local
SHmax stress direction of 53N (Fig. 2).
A close-up view of the top Nancar Formation in the
Ludmilla structure is shown in Figure 15b along with the
two major trap-bounding faults. The CFF is clearly
different on each fault. The southwest dipping fault is
not optimally oriented for shear failure and is therefore
capable of supporting high trap integrity (i.e. CFF << 0).
In contrast, the northwest dipping fault is criticallystressed (CFF > 0), particularly along the northeast
18APPEA JOURNAL 2000

segment of the fault where the CFF contours are shown


in different shades of purple. The greenish-brown
contours on this northwest fault, closer to the crest of the
reservoir, represent sections that are near the shear
failure threshold. The transition to a positive CFF
attribute (purple shades) along this section of the
northwest faults marks the approximate location of the
palaeo-oil-water contact based on GOI analysis. Drilling
results of the Ludmilla1 well indicated a live oil column
overlying a residual oil column with the current oil-water
contact situated several tens of metres above the palaeooil-water contact (Fig. 15b).

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Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

a)

Nancar-1

Ludmilla-1

Mindil-1

North

East-West
Trending Faults
East

Top Nancar Sands Formation

AC/P-16
Nancar Trough Structure
b)

Nancar-1

ault
WF

Ludmilla-1

Mindil-1

High Integrity
Sealing Fault

Near Shear
Failure
Threshold

NW

Fau
l

Fault Leakage due


to Shear Failure

Paleo-spillpoint
based on GOI analysis

Top Nancar Sands Formation

N
Fault Surface
-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0
5
Coulomb Failure Function (MPa)
Figure 15. 3D perspective view of a) the Mallee Terrace in central AC/P16, looking to the southwest, showing the top of the Nancar Sands
and the major structural faults mapped from 3D seismic data, defined as a series of connected fault segments. The Nancar1, Ludmilla1
and Mindil1 wells are indicated as near vertical red lines. The grey to purple contours correspond to critically-stressed segments (CFF
0), while contour gradations from yellow, green to blue correspond to stable segments (CFF < 0). b) Close-up view of the Ludmill-1 area
showing the approximate location of the paleo-oil-water-contact inferred from GOI analysis in Ludmilla1. Note that this is also the location
at which sections of the fault become critically-stressed for shear failure and therefore, less likely to behave as an adequate fault seal for
trap integrity.

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D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

Mindil-1
Z

Northern
Fault
High Trap
Integrity

Near Shear
Failure Threshold
ult
a
F
n
her
t
u
So

Low Trap
Integrity

AC/P-16
Mindil Structure
Top Nancar Sands Formation

Fault Surface

-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0


5
Coulomb Failure Function (MPa)
Figure 16. A close-up 3D perspective view of the Mindil1 area, looking to the west, showing the top of the Nancar Sands and the major
structural faults inferred from 3D seismic data, defined as a series of connected faults elements. The Mindil1 well is indicated as a near
vertical red line. The CFF contouring as for Figure 15. The ENEWSW trending high-angle fault bounding the reservoir to the north (right
side of plot) is critically-stressed and has a high probability of fault leakage due to shear failure. The ESEWNW trending high-angle fault
bounding the reservoir to the south is at the threshold of failure due to fault slip.
The Mindil-1 well drilled a similar structure located
further to the west (Fig. 15a). A close-up view is shown
in Figure 16. Again, the fault bounding the reservoir to
the north is critically-stressed (CFF > 0) suggesting that
the probability of encountering a breached reservoir
adjacent to this fault is high. The Mindil1 well was
drilled into the structural high situated adjacent to the
southern trap-bounding fault (left fault in Fig. 16). The
CFF associated with this fault indicates that it is near the
threshold of being critically-stressed.
20APPEA JOURNAL 2000

Pore pressure-induced shear failure


It is possible to quantify what the critical pore pressure
(Pp Critical) is required for an otherwise stable fault
segment to fail in shear (Wirput and Zoback, submitted).
The Pp Critical (Pp/Sv scale bar in Figures 11 and 12)
reflects the incremental increase in pore pressure
required to decrease the effective normal stress enough
to induce shear failure on segments that are currently
not critically-stressed. This is equivalent to replacing

PROOFS2/2 9 MARCH 2000.


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Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

pore pressure (Pp) with the critical pore pressure (Pp


Critical) in Equation 2. The current pore pressure regime
normalised by the vertical stress (Sv) is about Pp/Sv ~ 0.4
(Figs. 11 and 12). Increasing the pore pressure within or
adjacent to faults that are at the threshold of shear
failure (CFF slightly negative) would effectively increase
the likelihood of shear failure occurring along these
segments. Potentially, this could also extend the zone of
slip failure from the segment that is already criticallystressed and prone for failure.
If elevated pore pressure is to be considered a viable
mechanism for enhancing the likelihood of shear failure
on segments that are currently at their threshold of
failure, it is necessary to identify the source and timing
of the overpressure. However, the source of the elevated
fluid pressure does not necessarily have to be within the
reservoir. These elevated pore pressures can be unique
to the fault zone and unrelated to the adjacent rock
formations. Brines have been found to be associated with
residual oil columns and faults (Lisk et al, 1999) which
could have migrated from the same salt deposits laid
down in the Early Palaeozoic (Shuster et al, 1998). These
apparently high temperature, high pressure brines
migrating upward from a deeper source along criticallystressed faults could provide a pulse of high pressure
fluid leading to dynamic shear failure along segments at
the threshold of shear failure (CFF slightly negative).
Alternatively, the reservoir pore pressure in the
Londonderry High, Nancar Trough, and Laminaria High
areas at the time of hydrocarbon charge could have been
elevated with respect to the present-day pore pressure.
For instance, if the reservoir pore pressure exceeded Pp
Critical fault slip would result in a discharge of
hydrocarbons, which would subsequently lead to a
decrease in reservoir pore pressure. If the pore pressure
decreased to levels below the critical pore pressure, then
fault slip would be inhibited and a fault seal would begin
to redevelop (i.e. secondary mineralisation would heal
the fault zone). Although this palaeo pore pressure
mechanism is difficult to reconcile given the expanse of
the reservoir sands in the region, it may be possible to
determine the paleo-reservoir pore pressure by
conducting fluid inclusion analysis similar to George et
al, (1997) and Lisk et al, (1996).

CONCLUSION
Increasing our understanding of fault seal integrity
requires a well-constrained geomechanical model. This
includes detailed knowledge of the principal stress
magnitudes (SHmax, Shmin and Sv) and stress directions,
pore pressure, coupled with a detailed representation of
fault surfaces from depth-converted 3D seismic data. If
a fault segment is critically stressed with respect to the
present-day stress field, there is a high likelihood that
the fault will slip due to shear failure, resulting in
hydrocarbon leakage along the slip-induced fault zone
permeability structure.
Quantifying the stress state in the AC/P8 and AC/P16
areas indicates a non-uniform strike-slip stress regime

(SHmax > Sv > Shmin) with the orientation of the


maximum principal horizontal stress (SHmax) varying
systematically across the study area, similar to that
previously reported for the western part of ZOCA. Within
the AC/P8 region, SHmax is about 15N, while further
south in the AC/P16 area, the regional SHmax stress
direction systematically changes to about 63N.
Assessing some of the risks associated with trap
integrity in structures drilled in AC/P8 and AC/P16 has
been accomplished by combining details on the stress
field with 3D representations of the important faults
defining the traps. Evaluating the stress state resolved
on these faults to determine which fault segments are
critically-stressed, followed by 3D visualisation to
interpret the results, provides an important exploration
tool for assessing risks associated with fault seal failure.
Applying this integrated stress-fault approach to the
Laminaria and Corallina Fields, and the Fannie Bay,
Lameroo and Ludmilla structures has greatly increased
our understanding of the mechanism(s) responsible for
the successful and not-so successful drilling enterprises
in the Timor Sea area.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Author DAC is specially grateful for the opportunity
to have worked with co-authors DJB, ID, DK, MdR, MT at
Woodside Australian Energy and MWS at Shell
Development Australia on this Timor Sea fault seal
project. Extended thanks also to Marian Magee, Steve
Taylor at Santos and David Moffat at Chevron for their
constructive and supportive comments.

REFERENCES
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D.A. Castillo, D.J. Bishop, I. Donaldson, D. Kuek, M. de Ruig, M. Trupp and M.W. Shuster

CASTILLO, D. A., HILLIS, R.R., ASQUITH, K., AND


FISCHER, M., 1998State of stress in the Timor Sea
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DE RUIG, M.J., TRUPP, M., BISHOP, D.J., KUEK, D.


AND CASTILLO, D.A., 2000Fault Architecture in the
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22APPEA JOURNAL 2000

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Trap integrity in the Laminaria HighPrediction of fault seal failure

THE AUTHORS
David Castillo completed his
PhD in borehole geophysics at
Stanford University in 1993 and
since 1985 he has worked for
Amoco Production Co., Intl, US
Geological Survey, Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory
and the University of Adelaide.
He has broad experience with insitu stress measurements in the
San Joaquin Valley in California,
Timor Sea, North West Shelf, Indonesia, Colombia, PNG and
Central Australia. He is currently Managing Director of the
GeoMechanics International (Asia Pacific) Office. Member:
SPE, PESA, AAPG, and AGU.
Dan Bishop is currently a
geoscientist within the New
Ventures Division of Woodside
Energy Ltd. He graduated with a
BA (Hons) in Geology from
Oxford University in 1988. After
a short period working on the
tectonics of the central North
Sea with Mobil in London, he
moved to New Zealand, where,
in 1992, he completed a PhD at
Victoria University of Wellington, on the structural evolution
of the West Coast region of South Island. Between 1992 and
1994 he was a contract researcher at The University of
Edinburgh, working for both Conoco and Fina, on the tectonics
of the central and southern North Sea. In 1994 he returned to
Victoria University, where he studied the structural development
of the Kapuni Gas Field, in collaboration with Shell Todd Oil
Services. In 1996, he joined Woodside in Perth.
Ian Donaldson graduated from
Macquarie University in Sydney in
1984 with a BSc degree in Geology.
Ian worked on the Eromanga, Surat,
Canning, Sydney, Gippsland,
Taranaki and Timor Sea areas for
Sydney Oil and TCPL Resources
Ltd until 1991. In 1991 Ian joined
BHP Petroleum as an exploration
geologist and worked on
programmes in the Duntroon Basin
and Timor Sea. Ian joined WMC in 1995 and worked in the New
Ventures Group predominantly in the Carnarvon Basin. In 1997
Ian joined Woodside and has been actively involved in exploration
programmes in the Timor Sea. Ian is a member of PESA and AAPG.

Dave Kuek graduated from the


University of Western Australia
with a BSc (Honours) degree in
Geology in 1984. He worked for
Shell Malaysia as a geologist for
eleven years, and for Shell UK as
a seismic interpreter for three
years. He joined Woodside in
1998, and worked as permit
coordinator and senior geologist
for the AC/P4 and AC/P16
permits, offshore Northern Australia, until recently. Dave
currently works as a senior business analyst for Woodside.
Menno de Ruig studied Geology
at the University of Amsterdam,
The Netherlands. He completed
a Ph.D. in Structural Geology at
the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,
on the tectono-sedimentary
evolution and paleostress analysis
of the PreBetic fold belt in Spain.
He joined Shell International in
1992 and worked for Shell UK in
the Moray Firth and Central
North Sea HP/HT exploration teams. Since 1997 he has
worked for Woodside Energy in Perth as a seismic interpreter/
geologist on various exploration permits in the Timor Sea. His
current work involves seismic interpretation and oil exploration
in the Southern Bonaparte/Petrel Basin. He is a member of
PESA, AAPG and PESGB.
Mark Trupp graduated from
the NCPGG in Adelaide with
BSc (Hons) in 1988 and joined
Shell Development Australia
shortly thereafter. He has worked
for SDA as an exploration
geologist and seismic interpreter
in most Australian basins, in both
operated and non-operated
venture roles. In 1997 he was
seconded to Woodside as a
seismic interpreter/geologist for the exploration area
surrounding the Laminaria/Corallina development. He continues
in this role today. He is a member of AAPG.

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