3D visualization can be an important investigative tool for understanding physical processes and recovery mechanisms in reservoir simulation. In this paper, we will demonstrate the utility of 3-D visualization in the context of compositional and thermal simulations, and how this new tool aids process understanding and facilitates project design.

The main uses of the reservoir simulator include history matching to understand past performance, gain credibility of the reservoir simulation model, and project design to optimize future recovery (in an economic sense) whether for continued primary recovery, waterflooding, or EOR. To achieve these goals, it is essential to understand the interaction of the fluid dynamical and physical and chemical mechanisms with the complex geology of the reservoir, and the operational parameters and constraints at the wells.

While the reservoir simulator is capable of answering these questions, one of the major problems in the past has been in the three dimensional representation of such key variables as oil, water, and gas saturations, pressure, temperature, and individual component concentrations. Maps of these quantities relative to local geology and wells are essential to understanding the complex interactions outlined above, before process optimization may be achieved. Even simple questions such as the location of bypassed pockets of oil, cannot be adequately addressed using these tools. With recent advances in complex reservoir characterization, it is even more essential to be able to visually understand the control that local geology exercises on the recovery mechanism.

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