University of Southern California USC Center for Geothermal Studies The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering USC
R & D Projects

Geomechanical Modeling and a Reservoir Modeler for Geysers Geothermal Field

The main objective of the project is to characterize reservoir fluid pathways and better understand how the fluid propagates in channelized, well defined pathways. Coupling fluid flow and geomechanics enables us to develop the spatial distributions of the porosity, permeability, stress, and strain along with temperature distribution in the northwest part of the Geysers. The spatial permeability map of the field enables us to determine the impact of water injection in the fracture system, and use the information to better exploit the geothermal reservoir in the northwest part of the field.

We will accomplish these goals by conducting the above mentioned two tasks. Additional technical details of these two tasks are provided below:

Task 1-Geomechanical modeling (fluid flow through a changing fracture network)
This task will focus on developing new methods to relate fracture creation to changes in fluid pressure and temperature. This will be accomplished by coupling the flow equations to the deformation equation (assuming, for example, an elastic model for the deformation). We will also investigate an alternative simpler alternative by deforming the sample for a (short) time and then simulate flow in deformed medium, then resume the deformation, simulate fluid flow again. These two alternatives will be considered and we will reach conclusions on their effectiveness as well as cost consideration.

Task 2- Reservoir modeler
We will develop the underlining geological model of the reservoir, and address the related issues on up-scaling it for reservoir simulations, and numerical simulation of multiphase flow in the reservoir.

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