The study of fault slip in response to fluid injection offers a means to understand the complex hydromechanical behavior of shale gas and oil reservoir systems during hydraulic fracturing operations, together with the induced seismicity, and corresponding mitigation measures, arising from such events. In this paper, a series of numerical simulations are performed to investigate the relationship between hydraulic fracturing (i.e. fluid injection) and the response of a naturally fractured rock mass to transient fluid pressures. The analysis is carried out using the discontinuum-based distinct-element program UDEC assuming a fracture flow system. The conceptual reservoir model consists of a critically stressed fault plane and the surrounding rock mass containing planes of weakness, for which a hydraulic fracture is numerically simulated and the response modeled using a transient, coupled hydro-mechanical solution. The results demonstrate the influence of fluid diffusion generated by the fracing fluid after shut-in on the triggering of fault slip. The simulation is then used to interpret the associated seismic events and their relationship to the injections and shut-in pressures, and to estimate the maximum magnitude of the induced seismic event.

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