Evaluation and Optimisation of Chemically Enhanced Oil Recovery in Fractured Reservoirs Using Dual-Porosity Models

Al-Rudaini, Ali (Heriot-Watt University) | Geiger, Sebastian (Heriot-Watt University) | Mackay, Eric (Heriot-Watt University) | Maier, Christine (Heriot-Watt University) | Pola, Jackson (Heriot-Watt University)



We propose a workflow to optimise the configuration of multiple interacting continua (MINC) models and overcome the limitations of the classical dual-porosity model when simulating chemically enhanced oil recovery processes. Our new approach captures the evolution of the concentration front inside the matrix, which is key to design a more effective chemically enhanced oil recovery projects in naturally fractured reservoirs. Our workflow is intuitive and based on the simple concept that fine-scale single-porosity models capture fracture-matrix interaction accurately and can hence be easily applied in a commercial reservoir simulator. Results from the fine-scale single-porosity system are translated into an equivalent MINC method that yields more accurate results than the classical dual-porosity model or a MINC method where the shells are arbitrarily selected.

Our approach does not require the tuning of capillary pressure curves ("pseudoisation"), diffusion coefficients, MINC shells, or the generation of recovery type curves, all of which have been suggested in the past to model more complex recovery processes. A careful examination of the fine-scale single-porosity model ("reference case") shows that a number of nested shells emerge, describing the advance of the concentration and saturation fronts inside the matrix. The number of shells is related to the required degree of refinement, i.e. the number of shells, in the improved MINC model. Using the results from a fine-scale single-porosity simulation to set up the shells in the MINC model is easy and requires only simple volume calculations. It is hence independent of the chosen simulator.

Our improved MINC method yields significantly more accurate results compared to a classical dual-porosity model, a MINC method with equally sized shells, or a MINC model with arbitrarily refined shells for a number of recovery scenarios that cover a range of matrix wettabilities and permeabilities. In general, improved results can be obtained when selecting five or fewer shells in the MINC. However, the actual number of shells is case-specific. The largest improvement is observed for cases when the matrix permeability is low.

The novelty of our approach is the easy-to-use method to define shells for a MINC model to predict chemically enhanced oil recovery from naturally fractured reservoirs more accurately, especially in cases where the matrix has low permeability. Hence the improved MINC method is particularly suitable to model chemical EOR processes in (tight) fractured carbonates.