Upscaling low salinity water flooding in heterogenous reservoirs

H. Al-Ibadi*, K. Stephen, E. MacKay

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


Modelling the dynamic fluid behaviour of Low Salinity Water Flooding (LSWF) at the reservoir scale is a challenge which requires a coarse grid enable prediction in a feasible timescale. However, evidence shows that using low resolution models will result in a considerable mismatch compared with an equivalent fine scale model with the potential of strong numerically induced oscillations. This work examines two new upscaling methods in a heterogenous reservoir where viscous crossflow takes place to improve the precision of predictions. We apply two approaches to upscaling of the flow to improve precision. In the first upscaling method, we shift the effective salinity range for the coarse model based on algorithms that we have developed to correct for numerical dispersion. The second upscaling method uses appropriate pseudo relative permeability curves that we derive. The shape of this new set of relative permeability is designed based on a modified fractional flow analysis of LSWF that we have developed and captures the relationship between dispersion and the waterfront velocities. This approach removes the need for explicit simulation of salinity transport. We applied these approaches in layered models and for permeability distributed as a correlated random field. Upscaling by shifting the effective salinity range of the coarse model gave a good match to the fine case scenario, while considerable mismatch was observed for traditional upscaling of the absolute permeability only using averaging methods. For highly coarsened models, this method of upscaling reduces the oscillations appear, but they can be apparent. On the other hand, upscaling by using a single (pseudo) relative permeability produced more robust results with a very promising match to the fine scale scenario. These methods of upscaling showed promising results where they were used to upscale fully communicating and non-communicating layers as well as models with randomly correlated permeability. Unlike documented methods in literate, these newly derived methods take into account the crucial effect of numerical dispersion and effective concentration on fluid dynamic using mathematical tools. These methods could be applied for other models where the phase mobilities change as a result of an injected solute, such as surfactant flooding and alkaline flooding. Usually these models use two sets of relative permeability and switch from one to another as a function of the concentration of the solute.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECMOR XVII
PublisherEAGE Publishing BV
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789462823426
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Event17th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 14 Sept 202017 Sept 2020


Conference17th European Conference on the Mathematics of Oil Recovery 2020
Abbreviated titleECMOR 2020
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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