This study attempts to describe and model the process leading to the genesis of the tilted oil-water contact (OWC) observed in the lower part of the Thamama Group in an offshore Abu Dhabi field.

Post-oil-migration deformation is thought to be the mechanism that produced a tilted OWC dipping towards the Northeast. Deciphering the tectonic evolution from Jurassic to Paleocene times confirms a long and complex structural history combining burial, halokinesis, uplift and tilting. Diapiric activity was probably established in the eastern accumulation by pre-Jurassic times, followed by localized salt-related doming in both parts of the field. During the mid-Eocene occurred a late tilting of the northeastern part of the field, enhancing the curvature of the area.

This late tilting caused oil saturation redistribution. In uplifted areas of the field, water saturationdecreased along the drainage curve whereas in areas brought structurally closer to the Free Water Level (FWL), water saturation increased along a scanned imbibition curve.

The objective of this study is to retrace the saturation history of the field using lab-measured bounding capillary pressures. This workflow ensures the correct initialization of the dynamic reservoir model and reproduces the observed field behavior.

Drainage and imbibition capillary pressures are available for different rock types (RT), measured under various experimental set-ups (mercury injection, porous plate, centrifuge). This study reconciles lab measurements with wireline logs and Dean-Stark data to produce a representative capillary pressure curve for each RT.

Next, the structural deformation history is representedas a series of elementary geometric transformations (localized subsidence and global translation) to restore the reservoir in its pre-deformation state. Wireline log saturationsare matched to capillary-based water saturations by adjusting the present day free water level (FWL) and the change of FWL due to seepage.

The dynamic model is then initialized by enumeration with the original water saturation and let to equilibrate for 40,000 years. The fluid redistribution and pressures are then monitored to confirm that equilibrium has been attained. This equilibration step ensures that the fluids are at their correctstate of relative permeability and capillary pressure at the start of simulation, something that is not garanteed in the case of direct enumeration of the final saturations. The implications of such procedure on the dynamic behaviorare explored by simulating 50 years of production history and compa.

This study greatly improved the saturation modelling by moving from synthetic porosity-bin functions to physics and texture based capillary pressures. The proposed workflow enhanced the history-match quality and reproduced observed field behaviors such as the high water-cut development in the Northeast.

A tilted OWC might increase the in-place however extracting those resources might prove more challenging in the face of the low oil mobility. The oil below OWC might not be recovered under conventional waterflood methods and would warrant an EOR implementation. In the future, an appraisal well is planned in the Northeast to assess the volume and mobility of the oil below OWC.

It is the first time an integrated workflow, combining SCAL and structural geology, is proposed to correctly initialize the dynamic model for reservoirs that experienced a post-migration deformation, hence making the present study unique.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.