Detection of low-efficiency zones of water curtain system for underground LPG storage by a discrete fracture network model

  • Cheng Hu
  • Huali ChenEmail author
  • Gang Chen
  • Jinghua Liu
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Environmental Earth Sciences on Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering


Water curtain system is the key architecture to maintain the hydrodynamic containment of underground storage for liquefied petroleum gas in unlined rock caverns. Additional water curtain boreholes have to be drilled and tested to eliminate any low-efficiency zone. The drilling and testing is, however, a time-consuming and costing job. In this paper, statistical characteristics of fractures (joints, bedding planes, or even faults) obtained at different phases of the project (e.g., site investigation phase and underground excavation phase) are input to a discrete fracture network model to generate realizations representing the fracture network of the considered domain (500 m × 250 m × 200 m). A grid system is created for the domain with the cell size of 50 m × 50 m × 50 m. Based on the Cubic Law, a 3D equivalent hydraulic conductivity field is obtained. With the parameter of the Low-Efficiency Index (LEInd), criteria are created to help identify the low-efficiency areas based on the hydraulic conductivity field. The predictions of the low-efficiency zones are then cross checked with the actual water curtain efficiency test results. Four out of five predicted low-efficiency cells were proved to be fully or partly matched with the results identified from the water curtain efficiency test. This work can help to determine the reasonable water curtain borehole layout spacing during the design phase, thus effectively reduce the water curtain boreholes drilling workload after the test, shorten the construction period, and reduce the engineering cost.


Underground LPG storage cavern Water curtain system Low-efficiency index Equivalent hydraulic conductivity Discrete fracture network 



We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41401539), and Science Research Foundation for the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars (State Education Ministry of China, [2015] No.1098) for supporting this study. Special thanks go to the anonymous reviewers and editor for their critical comments which improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringZhejiang Gongshang UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.China Petroleum Logging Co., LtdXi’anChina

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