Reservoir Simulation

Coupled, full-field, integrated, holistic, or asset: Call it what you will, this class of modeling is becoming increasingly commonplace. The ability to interrogate the response of a system, from the reservoir to fiscal meter, is quite potent and encourages integration in all senses of the word—technically, operationally, and organizationally. Such end-to-end models may reveal bottlenecks, constraints, and potential flow-assurance issues.

While the benefits are manifest, two related issues are worthy of consideration: complexity and piloting. The complexity of any individual component (such as the reservoir model) refers to the engineering judgment required to ensure that it is fit for purpose. For example, should one use a simple model (computationally rapid but approximate) or should a more complex model (computationally slower but accurate) be adopted? The former is better suited for rapid scenario screening and sensitivity analysis, while the latter is better suited for detailed engineering, with a spectrum of models in between.

Piloting is another consideration. The degree of technical insight required to competently steer any single component simulator is often quite high. Having several simulators under a single, seamless platform places an extra burden on the pilots involved because the added layer of software (the integration platform) may mask possible shortcomings in a model, thus rendering potentially incorrect results and even suboptimal capital decisions.

These considerations notwithstanding, I am genuinely optimistic about the potential these full-field models will bring and the insights they can deliver. More articles are certain to appear detailing predictions vs. observations and how planning, operations, and economics benefited from such integrated studies. I respectfully submit that the story of fully coupled, full-field, integrated asset modeling has only just begun.

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 173875 Integrated Reservoir Modeling of the Alvheim Field by Kåre Langaas, Det Norske Oljeselskap, et al.

SPE 170710 North Sea Case Study of an Integrated Simulation-to-Seismic Work Flow by M. Tabatabaei, Marathon, et al.

SPE 170639 Helical Boundary Conditions To Capture Interpattern Flow in In-Situ-Upgrading-Process Pattern Simulations by Jeroen C. Vink, Shell, et al.

SPE 171972 Integrated Simulation Study of a Gas/Condensate Field With Nitrogen and Hydrocarbon Recycling by Mohamed El Gohary, ADCO, et al.

William Bailey, SPE, is a principal at Schlumberger-Doll Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts. His primary technical interests lie in reservoir engineering, multiphase flow in conduits, and optimization of expensive functions. Bailey has contributed to more than 50 articles (almost half of which were peer reviewed), holds numerous patents, and has contributed to five books. He holds M.Eng. and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering and an MBA degree. Bailey has held various positions in SPE, including as technical reviewer for various SPE journals. He currently serves on the SPE Books Development Committee and the JPT Editorial Committee.

Reservoir Simulation

William Bailey, SPE, Principal at Schlumberger-Doll Research

01 July 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 7