Hydraulic testing, frac operations and induced seismicity in geoenergy projects
Hydraulic stimulation is a well-operation that aims at enhancing fluid flow at depth. It is applied to exploit unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs with low permeability and deep geothermal resources. Induced earthquakes frequently accompany the injection of fluids into boreholes potentially leading to damage to infrastructure at the surface and thus generally raising public concern. Damage caused by such events have already terminated Enhanced Geothermal Energy projects in South Korea and Switzerland. Hence, finding safe stimulation methods is critical for future use and public acceptance of geothermal energy projects and potential other forms of energy extraction from the underground. A range of stimulation techniques have been developed to increase the permeability of low-permeable reservoirs, however, our understanding of the processes involved in the formation of hydrofracs and hydroshears and the effectiveness of these operations regarding flow enhancement are still rather limited. A series of successful mine-back experiments have been performed in a range of underground laboratories in Europe. For this session, we invite presentations covering the full range of rock mechanics experiments, underground laboratory testing, and field-scale operations aiming at improving the fundamental understanding of stimulation operations.