The initial water saturation in a reservoir is important for both hydrocarbon volume estimation and distribution of multiphase flow properties such as relative permeability. Often, a practical reservoir engineering approach is to relate relative permeability to flow property regions by binning of the initial water saturation. The rationale behind this approach is that initial water saturation is related to both the pore-throat radius distribution and the wettability of the rock, both of which affect relative permeability. However, pore-throat radius and wettability are usually not explicitly included in geomodel property modeling. Therefore, the saturation height model should not only capture an average hydrocarbon pore volume but also reflect the underlying mechanisms from hydrocarbon migration history and its impact on initial water saturation distribution.

This work introduces and describes a new term, excess water, for more precise classification of saturation height model scenarios in reservoirs in which multiple mechanisms have interacted and caused a complex water saturation distribution. An example of the presence of transition zones related to drained local perched aquifers (excess water) in oil-down-to (ODT) wells is shown using a limited data set from a North Sea reservoir. The physical basis for drainage and imbibition transition zones connected to both regional and perched aquifers is given. The distribution of initial water saturation in reservoirs containing excess water is demonstrated through numerical modeling of oil migration over millions of years.

Highly permeable reservoirs are more likely to have locally trapped water because of lower capillary forces. A static situation occurs in areas where the capillary forces cannot maintain a high enough water saturation for further water drainage. On the other hand, both high- and low-permeability reservoirs may have significant excess water because of ongoing dynamic effects. In both cases, long distances for water to drain laterally to a regional aquifer enhance the possibility for a dynamic excess water situation.

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