A General Framework Model for Fully Coupled Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical Simulation of CO2 EOR Operations

Wang, Shihao (Colorado School of Mines) | Di, Yuan (Peking University) | Wu, Yu-Shu (Colorado School of Mines) | Winterfeld, Philip (Colorado School of Mines)


In this work, we present the development of a comprehensive mathematical formulation and reservoir simulator for thermal-hydraulic-mechanical simulation of CO2-EOR processes

We adopt the integral finite difference method to simulate coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical processes during CO2-EOR in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. In our method, the governing equations of the multiphysical processes are solved fully coupled on the same unstructured grid. A multiscale algebraic linear solver is adopted to speed up the non-isothermal flow calculation. Inspired by the meshless method, the algebraic solver eliminates the low-frequency terms through smoothing on a coarse grid. In order to simulate the phase behavior of a three-phase system, a three-phase flash calculation module, based on direct minimization of Gibbs energy, is implemented in the simulator.

We have investigated the impact of cold CO2 injection on injectivity as well as on phase behavior. We conclude that cold injection is an effective way to increase injectivity in tight-oil reservoirs. We have observed and studied the temperature decreasing phenomena near the production well, known as the Joule-Thomson effect, induced by expansion of in-situ fluids.

The novelty of this work lies in the fully coupled simulation scheme, including non-isothermal effects on CO2-EOR processes and recoveries, which has been ignored in almost all modeling studies of CO2-EOR. The multiscale solution strategy and the unique phenomena of non-isothermal compositional modeling coupled with geomechanics are captured by our simulator.