Novel Method for Consistent Initialization of Reservoir Simulation Models with Oil/Water Paleo-Contacts

Patacchini, Leonardo (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company) | Mohmed, Farzeen (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company) | Lavenu, Arthur P. C. (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company) | Ouzzane, Djamel (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company) | Hinkley, Richard (Halliburton) | Crockett, Steven (Halliburton) | Bedewi, Mahmoud (Halliburton)


The classic method for initializing reservoir simulation models in the presence of a transition zone, based on primary drainage capillary-gravity equilibrium, is extended to account for partial reimbibition post oil migration. This tackles situations where structural events, such as trap tilting or caprock leakage, caused the current free-water level (FWL) to rise above deeper paleo-contacts. A preliminary primary drainage initialization is performed with zero capillary pressure at the paleo (or deepest historical) FWL, to obtain a minimum historical water saturation distribution. From a capillary pressure hysteresis model, it is then possible to determine the appropriate imbibition scanning curve for each gridblock, which are used to perform a second initialization with zero capillary pressure at the current FWL. With the proposed method, log-derived saturation profiles can be honored using a physically meaningful capillary pressure model. Furthermore, when relative permeability hysteresis is active, it is possible as a byproduct of the initialization to assign the correct scanning curves at time zero to each gridblock, which ensures that initial phase mobilities (hence reservoir productivity) and residual oil saturation (hence recoverable oil to waterflood) are modeled correctly. This is demonstrated with a synthetic vertical 1D model. The method was implemented in a commercial reservoir simulator to support modeling work for a giant undeveloped carbonate reservoir, where available data suggest that more than 3/4 of the initial oil in place could be located between the current FWL and a dome-shaped paleo-FWL. This work is used as a case study to illustrate the elegance of the proposed method in the presence of multiple (or tilted) paleo-FWLs, as only one set of capillary pressure curves per dynamic rock-type is required to honor the complex logderived saturation distribution.