The Greater Burgan field in Kuwait is the largest clastic oil field in the world. Its sheer size, complex geology, intricate surface facility network, over 2,200 well completions and 65-years of production history associated with uncertainty present formidable challenges in reservoir simulation. In the last two decades, many flow simulation models, part-field and full-field, were developed as reservoir management tools to study depletion plan strategies and reservoir recovery options. The new 2011 Burgan reservoir simulation effort was not just another simulation project. Indeed, it was a major undertaking in terms of technical and human resource. The model size, innovative technology, supporting resources, integrated workflows and meticulous planning applied to this project were unprecedented in the history of the Greater Burgan field development. This paper describes work done to prepare a representative numerical model which could be utilized to optimize the remaining life of the reservoir complex. Right from the onset, representative numerical modeling concerns were identified. These led to a systematic collaboration framework being built in place between the static and dynamic modeling teams. Calibration of the model to the historical observations was executed at three levels, Global, Regional and Wells – the Cascade Approach. The cascade approach was designed to enable a concerted model calibration effort in accordance with the recurrent data quality. For instance, while the total field production history attains a high degree of accuracy, the data at the regional Gathering Center (GC) is of a lower level of certainty, but far more reliable than the data at an individual well. Commercial modeling software have been utilized extensively to produce several utilities such as water encroachment maps, Repeat Formation Tester (RFT) matching tools and aquifer definition and adjustment workflows. Subsequently, synergy in the integrated use of these tools produced a robust model calibration process on all three levels in the cascade approach.

The main goal of the project – development of a predictive simulation model, always remained at the fore of the project team's mind during the model calibration. Check-point prediction models were defined and constructed at regular intervals during the model calibration phase. This approach allowed qualitative assessment on the evolution towards a representative numerical model. Furthermore, it allowed synchronizing simulation workflows and expedited project deliverables. The overall result was a sound full-field reservoir simulation model that achieved a good match of production, pressure and saturation histories, leading to reliable forecasting of oil recovery under different development scenarios.

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