AbstractEngineering a robust hydraulic connection between wells is one of the most difficult aspects of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Designing and constructing such hydraulic connections requires and understanding of the in situ state of stress and the heterogeneities and discontinuities that naturally exist and may control the stimulation. Even with comprehensive stress and formation characterization programs substantial uncertainty remains in these key parameters. This is especially the case in high-temperature EGS environments where drilling conditions are often difficult and a far fewer logging and testing options are available. This paper presents a new approach for explicitly quantifying the uncertainties in the state of stress using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. This approach produces a probability distribution for the stress tensor, including a general 3D orientation, that reflects the uncertainties in all the observations or indicators used to constrain the stress state. This method is demonstrated on the characterization data for the EGS Collab Experiment 2 site. The output of the analysis is used to guide the design of the planned stimulations. In the case of research projects like EGS Collab, explicitly quantifying the uncertainties in the stress state allow for more rigorous hypothesis testing by allowing conclusions drawn from the experiments to be interpreted in the context of the uncertain knowledge about conditions in the test bed.
Published: April 4, 2023