There are widespread anecdotal reports that sealing faults sometimes break down during production, but little evidence, in the public domain at least, to support these reports. In this paper we review the theoretical basis for production-induced capillary (i.e. membrane) fault seal failure, investigate numerical models of the mechanism, and discuss the few published examples where observed production behaviour is attributed to fault seal breakdown in a production context due to pressure depletion on one side of a fault. We conclude that the case for fault seal failure is not, perhaps, as strong as many of us believe it to be.


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