Technology Focus: Reservoir Simulation and Visualization (July 2008)
- Martin Crick (Schlumberger)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 2008
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 50 - 50
- 2008. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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The continued high price of oil is clearly feeding through to research in and application of simulation: The papers submitted for review this year contained a high proportion on recovery techniques and reservoir types that only a few years ago were of little or no interest.
Thermal-recovery methods, and especially in geologically complex reservoirs, formed a clear trend in the papers submitted. The traditional “simple” steam-flood is giving way to more-sophisticated mechanisms, such as steam-assisted gravity drainage and in-situ combustion, and both simulation and visualization can play a pivotal role in understanding what is happening in a pilot study and in planning a subsequent full-field development.
Traditionally, history matching is fundamental to simulation, and much effort has been expended over many years in attempts to automate the process. Automation not only frees up the engineer to do other things—or more commonly, to simulate more reservoirs—but also introduces a degree of objectivity into what can be a dangerously subjective process, given the highly nonunique nature of the problem. Many of the submitted papers approach the problem in a more holistic manner than earlier approaches, including the geological-modeling process within the history-matching workflow. This is a welcome trend because “history match” that violates the known geological data and conceptual model is no match at all, and its predictions should be regarded with suspicion.
Over the years, simulators have gradually improved their representation of geology—the early homogeneous boxes giving way to highly heterogeneous models with complex fault structures represented faithfully. Naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs are among the most complex geological systems encountered. From the submitted papers, as well as the oft-cited distribution of remaining oil in place worldwide, these reservoirs will come to dominate the active development projects. We all need to improve our understanding of such geology and improve our mathematical models of it.
Reservoir Simulation and Visualization additional reading available at the SPE eLibrary: www.spe.org
SPE 113918 • “Insurance Value of Intelligent-Well Technology Against Reservoir Uncertainty” by E.A. Addiego-Guevara, SPE, Imperial College, London, et al.
SPE 113917 • “The Modeling Challenge of High-Pressure Air Injection” by A.H. de Zwart, Shell, et al.
SPE 110066 • “Case Studies Illustrating the Use of Reservoir-Simulation Results in the Reserves-Estimation Process” by Dean Rietz, SPE, Ryder Scott, et al.
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