Hydro-Mechanical Coupling for Flow Diagnostics: A Fast Screening Method to Assess Geomechanics on Flow Field Distributions

Lesly Gutierrez Sosa, Sebastian Geiger, Florian Doster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hydro-mechanical coupling is imperative when the stress disturbances induced by production/injection processes affect the reservoir performance. However, the application of coupled hydro-mechanical models in actual full-field studies is still limited, mainly because of the high computational cost. Despite the existence of simplified coupling strategies (one-way coupling and loose coupling) that reduce the computational cost, numerical simulations remain challenging because of the significant computing time required to simulate coupled processes in complex and heterogeneous reservoir models. With the appropriate extension, flow diagnostics could also be used to screen and assess the impact of hydro-mechanical processes on reservoir performance so as to select a smaller number of models for detailed, and computationally costly, fully coupled hydro-mechanical simulations.

We hence present an approach that allows us to extend the existing flow diagnostics to account for geomechanical effects without increasing the computational overhead significantly. Flow diagnostics approximate the dynamic reservoir behaviour in seconds by computing the time of flight and steady-state tracer distributions directly on the reservoir grid. Hence, the extended flow diagnostics simulations complement full-physics simulations for estimating reservoir connectivity, fluid-fronts distributions, fluid displacement efficiency and well allocation factors under geomechanical effect.

The acceleration of the proposed hydro-mechanical coupling is achieved by: 1) the representation of the dynamic behaviour through the use of flow diagnostics simulations ( Møyner et al., 2014 ); 2) the formulation of the hydro-mechanical problem to account for steady-state conditions based on poro-elastic theory (Coussy, 1994, 2004 ); 3) a sequential stress-flow coupling using stress-dependent permeability as a coupling term. This coupling strategy ensures stability and fast convergence of the hydro-mechanical solution using a stress-fixed split strategy ( Kim et al., 2011a , 2011b ) and yields a significant reduction of the CPU time.

Two cases studies were analysed based on the SPE 10 Model ( Christie and Blunt, 2001 ) in which the effect of a 5-spot injection pattern subjected to a gravity load is studied, and the effect of mechanical heterogeneity is considered. These examples demonstrate the application of the proposed methodology to assess geomechanical impact in highly heterogeneous formations and the importance of not only account for petrophysical heterogeneities when assessing reservoir performance but also for the heterogeneity of mechanical properties as these alter the petrophysical properties when stress-sensitive reservoirs are produced.

Geomechanically informed flow diagnostics account for coupled hydro-mechanical effects that can alter the performance of stress-sensitive reservoirs during production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECMOR XVII - 17th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery
PublisherEAGE Publishing BV
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789462823426
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2020
EventECMOR XVII - Online
Duration: 14 Sept 202017 Sept 2020


ConferenceECMOR XVII


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