Reservoir simulation is not a video game. There are many differences between video games and reservoir simulators. The most obvious difference is interactivity. Reservoir simulation is not interactive.
Today, simulation engineers start a simulation run and wait several hours to load the calculated results for visualization. In recent years many improvements were achieved to help speed-up the time-consuming simulation workflow process: for example, the parallelization of the simulation engine, or the numerous computer aided history match tools available today helped to reduce project time. But at the same time, the simulation models grew larger at about the same rate to reduce the combined net effect to negligible speed gains.
This paper introduces an unconventional approach on how to treat and model the dynamic flow process. It will introduce an integrated approach, executed in parallel mode, free of file loading for results visualization, and - best of all – interactive.
The simulator is embedded in the visualization software and will be executed while visualizing the dynamic model on the screen. Well properties and production/injection rates can be modified interactively.
The paper will describe this new simulator which is based on an emerging technology known as general purpose computation on graphics hardware. The numerical simulation model is contained in a pixel shader program, usually executed in the graphics pipeline to calculate colors for every pixel displayed on the computer screen. The presented simulator abuses this capability and calculates colors that represent grid block pressures.
Current graphics cards limit this approach in terms of total number of cells and code instructions, but future generations of graphics hardware will alleviate this problem. The current implementation is very instructive for educational purposes and can be used for simple studies and petroleum trainings.
Perhaps, one day reservoir simulation may turn out to be close to a video game after all!