Steady-State Flow Through a Subsurface Reservoir with a Displaced Fault and its Poro-elastic Effects on Fault Stresses

Pavan Cornelissen*, Jan Dirk Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We consider steady-state single-phase confined flow through a subsurface porous layer containing a displaced, fully conductive fault causing a sudden jump in the flow path, and we employ (semi-)analytical techniques to compute the corresponding pressures and fault stresses. In particular, we obtain a new solution for the pressure field with the aid of conformal mapping and a Schwarz–Christoffel transformation. Moreover, we use an existing technique to compute the poro-elastic stress field with the aid of inclusion theory. The additional resistance to fluid flow provided by a displaced fault, relative to the resistance in a layer without a fault, is a function of dip angle, fault throw divided by reservoir height, and reservoir width divided by reservoir height. Fluid flow has a larger effect on fault stresses in case of injection than in case of depletion, where injection with up-dip flow results in increased zones of fault slip near the bottom of the reservoir. Opposedly, injection with down-dip flow results in increased slip near the top of the reservoir. An order-of-magnitude estimate of the effect of steady-state flow across displaced faults in the Groningen natural gas reservoir shows that the effect on fault stresses is probably negligible. A similar estimate of the effect in low-enthalpy geothermal doublets indicates that steady-state flow may possibly play a small role, in particular close to the injector, but site-specific assessments will be necessary to quantify the effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-734
Number of pages26
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Conformal mapping
  • Inclusion theory
  • Induced seismicity
  • Poro-elasticity
  • Schwarz–Christoffel transformation


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