The main challenges in modeling fluid flow through naturally-fractured carbonate karst reservoirs are how to address various flow physics in complex geological architectures due to the presence of vugs and caves which are connected via fracture networks at multiple scales. In this paper, we present a unified multi-physics model that adapts to the complex flow regime through naturally-fractured carbonate karst reservoirs. This approach generalizes Stokes-Brinkman model (Popov et al. 2007). The fracture networks provide the essential connection between the caves in carbonate karst reservoirs. It is thus very important to resolve the flow in fracture network and the interaction between fractures and caves to better understand the complex flow behavior. The idea is to use Stokes-Brinkman model to represent flow through rock matrix, void caves as well as intermediate flows in very high permeability regions and to use an idea similar to discrete fracture network model to represent flow in fracture network. Consequently, various numerical solution strategies can be efficiently applied to greatly improve the computational efficiency in flow simulations.
We have applied this unified multi-physics model as a fine-scale flow solver in scale-up computations. Both local and global scale-up are considered. It is found that global scale-up has much more accurate than local scale-up. Global scale-up requires the solution of global flow problems on fine grid, which generally is computationally expensive. The proposed model has the ability to deal with large number of fractures and caves, which facilitate the application of Stokes-Brinkman model in global scale-up computation.
The proposed model flexibly adapts to the different flow physics in naturally-fractured carbonate karst reservoirs in a simple and effective way. It certainly extends modeling and predicting capability in efficient development of this important type of reservoir.