Geological Heterogeneity in Geological Models - A Review of the Impact of Available Data, Modeling Parameters, and Modeling Workflow on Primary Recovery, Waterflooding, and Steamflooding Projects

Meddaugh, W. Scott (Midwestern State University) | Meddaugh, Andrew J. (Consultant)


Reservoir modeling and the derived fluid production over time curves are a key part of the workflows associated with major capital project decisions. These models may be very complex and use a variety of geological constraints in an effort to develop the porosity, permeability, and saturation distributions used in dynamic models (with or without upscaling). Over time and partially in response to increased computing capability as well as the need for more realistically heterogeneous models, model size as measured by number of model cells and model complexity has increased but model-derived production forecasts remain optimistic. This paper, one of a series that now stretches back over a decade, addresses a number of modeling issues with the goal of (1) better understanding how modeling workflows may contribute to forecast optimism and (2) what reservoir modelers, both geologists and engineers, may do to reduce forecast optimism derived from their subsurface models by improved understanding of how model parameters such as grid size, number of grid cells, semivariogram parameters (e.g. the range), and number of geological/stratigraphic "control" surfaces used to constrain models. Adequate modeling of reservoir heterogeneity appears to require very to extremely large models (e.g. large number of small cells). Many of the parameters used to "control" heterogeneity including the semivariogram range parameter, the number of "detailed" stratigraphic layers, and the number of rock/facies "containers" or model regions appears to have only a small impact on forecast recovery.