Use of numerical models to characterize and evaluate reservoir potential is an industry wide practice, with increasingly more development decisions being substantiated by finite difference models. Advances on hardware and software, along with the ability to effectively incorporate accurate process physics, makes simulation a robust tool for field development decisions, particularly on complex operations such as enhanced oil recovery and/or reservoirs with challenging heterogeneity and pore structures. Use of these models does not come without its challenges where data requirements (and use of special characterization both at lab and field level) increase as does the reservoir characterization granularity and thus model sizes.

Unsurprisingly the increase of model precision and data requirements amplifies non-uniqueness of the numerical solutions obtained during any field evaluation including field development planning (FDP). Incomplete/inconsistent datasets pose a further challenge to the accuracy (and arguably risk) of the forecasts by introducing further uncertainty on the process characterization. Use of complementary technology such as digital rock, that would enable mitigate impact of such uncertainties in a timely manner -either at field or laboratory level, is thus highly desirable particularly when dealing with enhanced oil recovery. Compounding the non-linearity effect of the EOR agent characterization is the effect of the augmented numerical artifacts (dispersion, dilution, etc) of which complex chemical implementations are prone to, making the upscaling process from laboratory dimensions to field more complex.

This paper complements our previous investigation on the use of digital rock solutions and multi-scale upscaling and is addressing two complementing topics:

  • Use of multiscale digital rock technology for field development – using a case study to illustrate the use of DR on field appraisal complementing otherwise unsampled facies, using a multi-nested approach to reconcile DR observations at different plug scales

  • Evaluate the impact of finite-difference numerical simulation grid on the surfactant injection performance- highlighting limitations and challenges of existing models as well as proposing potential upscaling alternatives.

It is our intention to further reconcile digital rock upscaling with other EOR methods such as polymer/CO2 injection and of course surfactant. While we were able to highlight the caveats of upscaling on complex chemical floods we continue to investigate and design a solution that would encompass combination of chemicals (surfactant, alkaline and polymer) as well as handle of concentration/salinity changes.

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