Water front movement in fractured carbonate reservoirs occurs in micro-fractures, corridors and interconnected fracture channels (above 5 mm in size) that penetrate the carbonate reservoir structure. Determining the fracture channels and the water front movements within the flow corridors is critical to optimize sweep efficiency and increase hydrocarbon recovery.

In this work, we present a new smart orthogonal matching pursuit (OMP) algorithm for water front movement detection in carbonate fracture channels. The method utilizes a combined artificial intelligence) AI-OMP approach to first analyze and extract the potential fracture channels and then subsequently deploys a deep learning approach for estimating the water saturation patterns in the fracture channels. The OMP utilizes the sparse fracture to sensor correlation to determine the fracture channels impacting each individual sensor. The deep learning method then utilizes the fracture channel estimates to assess the water front movements.

We tested the AI-OMP framework on a synthetic fracture carbonate reservoir box model exhibiting a complex fracture system. Fracture Robots (FracBots, about 5mm in size) technology will be used to sense key reservoir parameters (e.g., temperature, pressure, pH and other chemical parameters) and represent an important step towards enhancing reservoir surveillance (Al Shehri, et al. 2021). The technology is comprised of a wireless micro-sensor network for mapping and monitoring fracture channels in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The system establishes wireless network connectivity via magnetic induction (MI)-based communication, since it exhibits highly reliable and constant channel conditions with sufficiently communication range inside an oil reservoir environment. The system architecture of the FracBots network has two layers: FracBot nodes layer and a base station layer. A number of subsurface FracBot sensors are injected in the formation fracture channels to record data affected by changes in water saturation. The sensor placement can be adapted in the reservoir formation in order to improve sensor measurement data quality, as well as better track the penetrating water fronts. They will move with the injected fluids and distribute themselves in the fracture channels where they start sensing the surrounding environment’s conditions; they communicate the data, including their location coordinates, among each other to finally transmit the information in multi-hop fashion to the base station installed inside the wellbore. The base station layer consists of a large antenna connected to an aboveground gateway. The data collected from the FracBots network are transmitted to the control room via aboveground gateway for further processing.

The results exhibited strong estimation performance in both accurately determining the fracture channels and the saturation pattern in the subsurface reservoir. The results indicate that the framework performs well; especially for fracture channels that are rather shallow (about 20 m from the wellbore) with significant changes in the saturation levels. This makes the in-situ reservoir sensing a viable permanent reservoir monitoring system for the tracking of fluid fronts, and determination of fracture channels.

The novel framework presents a vital component in the data analysis and interpretation of subsurface reservoir monitoring system of fracture channels flow in carbonate reservoirs. The results outline the capability of in-situ reservoir sensors to deliver accurate tracking water-fronts and fracture channels in order to optimize recovery.

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