Geophysicists, geologists, and reservoir engineers can now routinely build reservoir geologic models with ten million geologic cells and more than one thousand geologic layers. This explosion in reservoir detail capability presents new challenges for existing upscaling methods. Uplayering (the first step of upscaling) is a technique that provides reservoir engineers with optimal geologic layer-grouping schemes for simulation model construction. Much uplayering is still done by hand by reservoir engineers. Even though some advanced methods can provide automatic tools for uplayering, they are limited in the applicable model size and are also computationally expensive. This paper presents a practical and efficient method for uplayering of multimillion-cell geologic models. The proposed method defines a displacing front conductivity, a combination of porosity, permeability, and facies (in terms of relative permeability, endpoint saturation, and various facies rules), as the uplayering property. Use of the new property ensures that the most important geologic features for fluid flow simulation can be preserved after uplayering. The new method utilizes a residual optimization technique to determine the optimal geologic layer-grouping scenario for a given number of simulation layers. The method is so efficient that multiple optimal grouping scenarios, from the one simulation layer model to the model consisting of all geologic layers, can be generated in a short time, allowing the inspection of all possible combinations of layer-grouping scenarios. A residual curve (the difference of the defined property between the fine-layer and coarse-layer models) is produced from exhaustive analysis of all possible layering combinations. Using the residual curve, engineers are able to determine the number of simulation layers needed based on their tolerance of possible loss of fine-layer geologic features. The uplayering method has been successfully employed in most of recent major reservoir study projects in Mobil and results from three of these studies will be included in this paper.

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