A novel multi-rate dual-porosity model for improved simulation of fractured and multi-porosity reservoirs

Sebastian Geiger, M. Dentz, I. Neuweiler

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    A major part of the world's remaining oil reserves is in fractured carbonate reservoirs, which are dual-porosity (fracture-matrix) or multiporosity (fracture/vug/matrix) in nature. Fractured reservoirs suffer from poor recovery, high water cut, and generally low performance. They are modeled commonly by use of a dual-porosity approach, which assumes that the high-permeability fractures are mobile and low-permeability matrix is immobile. A single transfer function models the rate at which hydrocarbons migrate from the matrix into the fractures. As shown in many numerical, laboratory, and field experiments, a wide range of transfer rates occurs between the immobile matrix and mobile fractures. These arise, for example, from the different sizes of matrix blocks (yielding a distribution of shape factors), different porosity types, or the inhomogeneous distribution of saturations in the matrix blocks. Thus, accurate models are needed that capture all the transfer rates between immobile matrix and mobile fracture domains, particularly to predict late-time recovery more reliably when the water cut is already high. In this work, we propose a novel multi-rate mass-transfer (MRMT) model for two-phase flow, which accounts for viscous-dominated flow in the fracture domain and capillary flow in the matrix domain. It extends the classical (i.e., singlerate) dual-porosity model to allow us to simulate the wide range of transfer rates occurring in naturally fractured multiporosity rocks. We demonstrate, by use of numerical simulations of waterflooding in naturally fractured rock masses at the gridblock scale, that our MRMT model matches the observed recovery curves more accurately compared with the classical dual porosity model. We further discuss how our multi-rate dual-porosity model can be parameterized in a predictive manner and how the model could be used to complement traditional commercial reservoir-simulation workflows.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)670-684
    Number of pages15
    JournalSPE Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


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