Scaling Up Highly Permeable Thin Layers Into Flow Simulation

Correia, Manuel Gomes (University of Campinas) | Schiozer, Denis José (University of Campinas)



Giant reservoirs such as Lula (Santos Oil Basin, Brazil) and Ghawar (Saudi Arabia) have high-permeability intervals, known as super-k zones, associated with thin layers. Modeling these small-scale flow features in large-scale simulation models is difficult. Current methods are limited by high computational costs or simplifications that mismatch the representation of these features in simulation gridblocks. This work has two purposes: present an upscaling work flow to integrate highly laminated or interbedded reservoirs with thin, highly permeable layers in reservoir simulations through a combination of an explicit modeling of super-k layers using the Parsons (1966) formula and dual-medium flow models, and compare this method with two conventional upscaling approaches that are available in commercial software.

We use the benchmark model UNISIM-II-R (Correia et al. 2015a), a fine single-porosity grid dependent on field information from the Brazilian presalt and Ghawar oil fields, as the reference solution to compare the upscaling matching between the three methods. We compare oil recovery factor (ORF), water cut (WC), average reservoir pressure (RP), water front, and the time consumption for simulation. Our proposed Parson’s dual-medium (PDP) methodology achieved better upscaling matches with the reference model and had minimal time consumption compared with the representation of super-k layers through an implicit matrix modeling by single-porosity flow models (IMP) and through the explicit representation of super-k zones in the fracture system of dual-medium flow models (DFNDP).