Precambrian Crystalline Basement Properties From Pressure History Matching and Implications for Induced Seismicity in the US Midcontinent


Injection-induced seismicity across the US midcontinent has almost exclusively occurred in the crystalline basement that underlies the Arbuckle Group aquifer and its equivalents, the primary wastewater disposal zone in this region. However, the properties of the basement are not well known. Newly compiled data, from Class I wells in Kansas, provide a unique record of pressures in the Arbuckle and an opportunity to constrain the reservoir-scale properties of the basement such as permeability, diffusivity, and specific storage. Constraints on these parameters are critical for modeling fluid flow and pressures across the entire Arbuckle-basement system, and are necessary for accurate evaluation and prediction of injection-induced earthquakes. Here, we present a detailed, three-dimensional geological and pressure history-matched numerical model for the Arbuckle and basement, based on data from >400 wells covering a large region in south-central Kansas, where injection-induced seismicity has been concentrated since 2014. Simulations of dynamic data from 319 wells indicate that Arbuckle pressures have increased by 1.1 MPa in high injection rate areas and an overpressure of <0.1 MPa may be the cause of seismicity in the basement. Pressure-history matching also yields the likely range in porosity (0.3%–7%), permeability (0.1–0.7 mD), and diffusivity (0.004–0.07 m2/s) for the basement. The resulting estimates suggest reservoir-scale properties of the basement are enhanced by faults and fractures. Importantly, the diffusivities determined in this study are lower than estimates derived from Kansas earthquake triggering fronts, and suggest that such seismicity-based techniques may have limitations, particularly where space-time patterns between injection and seismicity are complex.