Document Type

Report

Publication Date

11-2001

Abstract

Sandstones that overlie or that are interbedded with evaporitic or other ductile strata commonly contain numerous localized domains of fractures, each covering an area of a few square miles. Fractures within the Entrada Sandstone at the Salt Valley Anticline are associated with salt mobility within the underlying Paradox Formation. The fracture relationships observed at Salt Valley (along with examples from Paleozoic strata at the southern edge of the Holbrook basin in northeastern Arizona, and sandstones of the Frontier Formation along the western edge of the Green River basin in southwestern Wyoming), show that although each fracture domain may contain consistently oriented fractures, the orientations and patterns of the fractures vary considerably from domain to domain. Most of the fracture patterns in the brittle sandstones are related to local stresses created by subtle, irregular flexures resulting from mobility of the associated, interbedded ductile strata (halite or shale). Sequential episodes of evaporite dissolution and/or mobility in different directions can result in multiple, superimposed fracture sets in the associated sandstones. Multiple sets of superimposed fractures create reservoir-quality fracture interconnectivity within restricted localities of a formation. However, it is difficult to predict the orientations and characteristics of this type of fracturing in the subsurface. This is primarily because the orientations and characteristics of these fractures typically have little relationship to the regional tectonic stresses that might be used to predict fracture characteristics prior to drilling. Nevertheless, the high probability of numerous, intersecting fractures in such settings attests to the importance of determining fracture orientations in these types of fractured reservoirs.

Comments

SAND2001-3517