This study focuses on the investigation of the mechanism behind surface heave induced by thermal recovery. Injection of steam into oilsand reservoirs results in changes in temperature and pore pressure within the subsurface. These changes can induce a reduction of effective stress, which provides initial containment of bitumen. Irreversible shear/tensile deformation of the caprock and overburden might be one of the unwanted consequences of such process.
We developed a work flow incorporating the Finite Difference Method (FDM) and Finite Element Method (FEM). Heat and fluid flows are computed using FDM with CMG-STARS and elastic/plastic deformation estimations are done through Abaqus FEM simulation software. The Mohr-Coulomb yield criterion and the non-associated flow rule is used to assess the plastic failure in the reservoir and caprock. This work flow is used to assess the impact of the SAGD process on the integrity of caprock.
The geomechanical model is calibrated with surface deformation measurements. Parameter search is performed to study how geomechanical parameters influence the expression of reservoir deformation at the surface. The uncertainty associated with the modeled results shows the need for a more refined geomechanical model, considering the heterogeneous nature of geological structure in the region of interests.