Impact of Upscaling on Numerical Estimation of Polymer Increments

Bourgeois, Marcel J. (TOTAL SA) | Hild, Jean-Claude (TOTAL SA) | Bursaux, Romain T. (TOTAL SA)



Two upscaling exercises performed in 2013-14 and 2017-18 on two onshore green fields with conventional to viscous oil are presented, for which the upscaling tried to compensate the effects of grid coarsening, in particular the increase of numerical dispersion and the decrease of heterogeneity. Our methodology was to adjust the water/oil relative permeabilities called pseudo KRs in the coarse scale simulation, in order to reproduce the behavior in terms of pressure, rates, saturations and concentrations of the fine scale model, which was using microscopic rock KRs based on laboratory data.

As the upscaling depends on the fluid injected, it was done separately for waterflood and polymer flood. When done with polymer flood, the concentration of polymer had to be history matched also mainly by adjusting the Todd-Longstaff mixing parameter in addition to the KRs. As upscaling is case dependent, it was performed on several geological models, varying heterogeneity and grid size, but also rock KRs and even precocity of the polymer flood after some waterflood, to test the robustness of the approach.

It was found that pseudo-KRs for waterflood could be slightly degraded for viscous oils, whereas the upscaling was more neutral for conventional oils. This correlates well with field observation for viscous oils, where water production occurs generally a bit quicker than what numerical simulation predicts when using rock KRs, in absence of upscaling.

For polymer floods, which were considered in secondary or early tertiary mode, pseudo KRs were generally improved, mainly because the polymer steepened the saturation fronts, which can be well represented only with small lateral grid size.

The result of both upscaling exercises was that the increment of polymer flood versus waterflood was noticeably higher when computed on high resolution modelling. This is equivalent to saying that when using pseudo KRs resulting from this high resolution matching, the polymer increment on coarse grid is significantly higher than if computed without pseudo KRs. This improves the economic evaluation of the project, increasing the willingness to de-risk and implement early polymer floods on these fields.