Thermal EOR projects are technically and economically challenging projects. Improving the geological understanding and implementing these geological concepts into the static model were key to increase the robustness of, not only the geological model but also of the dynamic simulation.
The initial believe was that fine grained and mm scale laminated sediments act as vertical baffles for the steam distribution. The fine grained sands were low in permeability and the lamination were further reducing the vertical permeability. Grain size had the main impact on permeability and grain size was correlated with V-shale. Then, V-shale was used as a proxy for grain size and was integrated into a V-shale base porosity-permeability transformation.
After modeling the baffles explicitly, it was shown that against the initial belief, the main control on fluid flow was not a patchy baffle distribution. Instead the reservoir was overall reduced in vertical permeability. A lager impact had the V-shale base poro-perm transform, predicting an order of magnitude permeability range for a given porosity. Reducing the impact of the facies also reduced overall the uncertainty and improved the predictive power of the models. This in turn, helped to take development decisions with much higher confidence.