The Karachaganak field is a large onshore gas-oil-condensate accumulation with initial hydrocarbons in place of approximately 9 billion barrels of condensate and more than 45 trillion cubic feet of gas. The Karachaganak structure is a carbonate massif that comprises a heterogeneous reef and platform carbonate complex measuring 30 km by 15 km.

Geodynamic events of natural and man-induced genesis occurring during the development of hydrocarbon fields attract considerable attention from both the general public and engineering specialists alike. This paper highlights the necessity of geodynamic monitoring in the course of a hydrocarbon field development and describes the status of geodynamic monitoring in the Karachaganak field located in West Kazakhstan Oblast.

Lack of control over geodynamic events of natural and man-induced genesis can lead to irreversible consequences (induced earthquakes in USA, Canada and other countries), that can be damaging to the environment, and costly to remediate. Identification, prognosis and prevention of such consequences are fundamental tasks of the geodynamic monitoring in the course of development of hydrocarbon fields. Therefore, the task of monitoring geodynamic processes during the development of oil and gas fields draws special attention from operating companies and government authorities.

Implementation of geodynamic monitoring prior to commencement of and during commercial field development is a mandatory requirement of the RoK legislation. A primary purpose of geodynamic monitoring is to ensure environmental safety by taking necessary measures to mitigate and prevent a risk of occurrence of uncontrolled events associated with geodynamic processes during and after field development.

In Karachaganak field the monitoring over geodynamic processes began in 2002 by initiating a local seismological monitoring program which continued until the end of 2007. In 2008 a programme of integrated geodynamic monitoring was developed. Implementation of the programme, which envisages application of such methods as levelling, gravimetric and GPS surveys, and seismological monitoring, will allow the operator to thoroughly study geodynamic processes in Karachaganak field.

In June of 2009 a benchmark survey was conducted, and as more data from repeat surveys becomes available, it will be possible to investigate patterns and temporal development of geodynamic processes such as an activation of faults, compaction and lateral displacements of rock masses, surface subsidence, and seismicity.

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