A Robust Embedded Discrete Fracture Modeling Workflow for Simulating Complex Processes in Field-Scale Fractured Reservoirs

Hui, Mun-Hong (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Dufour, Gaelle (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Vitel, Sarah (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Muron, Pierre (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Tavakoli, Reza (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Rousset, Matthieu (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Rey, Alvaro (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Mallison, Bradley (Chevron Energy Technology Company)

OnePetro 

Abstract

Traditionally, fractured reservoir simulations use Dual-Porosity, Dual-Permeability (DPDK) models that can idealize fractures and misrepresent connectivity. The Embedded Discrete Fracture Modeling (EDFM) approach improves flow predictions by integrating a realistic fracture network grid within a structured matrix grid. However, small fracture cells with high conductivity that pose a challenge for simulators can arise and ad hoc strategies to remove them can alter connectivity or fail for field-scale cases. We present a new gridding algorithm that controls the geometry and topology of the fracture network while enforcing a lower bound on the fracture cell sizes. It honors connectivity and systematically removes cells below a chosen fidelity factor. Furthermore, we implemented a flexible grid coarsening framework based on aggregation and flow-based transmissibility upscaling to convert EDFMs to various coarse representations for simulation speedup. Here, we consider pseudo-DPDK (pDPDK) models to evaluate potential DPDK inaccuracies and the impact of strictly honoring EDFM connectivity via Connected Component within Matrix (CCM) models. We combine these components into a practical workflow that can efficiently generate upscaled EDFMs from stochastic realizations of thousands of geologically realistic natural fractures for ensemble applications.

We first consider a simple waterflood example to illustrate our fracture upscaling to obtain coarse (pDPDK and CCM) models. The coarse simulation results show biases consistent with the underlying assumptions (e.g., pDPDK can over-connect fractures). The preservation of fracture connectivity via the CCM aggregation strategy provides better accuracy relative to the fine EDFM forecast while maintaining computational speedup. We then demonstrate the robustness of the proposed EDFM workflow for practical studies through application to an improved oil recovery (IOR) study for a fractured carbonate reservoir. Our automatable workflow enables quick screening of many possibilities since the generation of full-field grids (comprising almost a million cells) and their preprocessing for simulation completes in a few minutes per model. The EDFM simulations, which account for complicated multiphase physics, can be generally performed within hours while coarse simulations are about a few times faster. The comparison of ensemble fine and coarse simulation results shows that on average, a DPDK representation can lead to high upscaling errors in well oil and water production as well as breakthrough time while the use of a more advanced strategy like CCM provides greater accuracy. Finally, we illustrate the use of the Ensemble Smoother with Multiple Data Assimilation (ESMDA) approach to account for field measured data and provide an ensemble of history-matched models with calibrated properties.