Field‐scale representation of highly heterogeneous reservoirs remains a challenge in numerical reservoir simulation. In such reservoirs, detailed geological models are important to properly represent key heterogeneities. However, high computational costs and long simulation run times make these detailed models unfeasible to use in dynamic evaluations. Therefore, the scaling up of geological models is a key step in reservoir‐engineering studies to reduce computational time. Scaling up must be carefully performed to maintain integrity; both truncation errors and the smoothing of subgrid heterogeneities can cause significant errors.

This work evaluates the latter—the effect of averaging small‐scale heterogeneities in the upscaling process—and proposes a new upscaling technique to overcome the associated limitations. The technique is dependent on splitting the porous media into two levels guided by flow‐ and storage‐capacity analysis and the Lorenz coefficient (LC), both calculated with static properties (permeability and porosity) from a fine‐scale reference model. This technique allows the adaptation of a fine highly heterogeneous geological model to a coarse‐scale simulation model in a dual‐porosity/dual‐permeability (DP/DP) approach and represents the main reservoir heterogeneities and possible preferential paths.

The new upscaling technique is applied to different reservoir‐simulation models with water injection and immiscible gas injection as recovery methods. In deterministic and probabilistic studies, we show that the resulting coarse‐scale dual‐permeability models are more accurate and can better reproduce the fine‐scale results in different upscaling ratios (URs), without using any simulation results of the reference fine‐scale simulation models, as some of the current alternative upscaling methods do.

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