Fractured reservoirs contain around 60% of the world’s remaining oil reserves. Fracture corridors have been noticed as a major architectural element in outcrops of fractured rock and are known to affect recovery by providing high-permeability flow conduits. Simulations of fractured reservoirs using multi-porosity and multi-permeability models has proven to be challenging, with ever-changing modifications being proposed since the introduction of the dual porosity model in the 1960s. To increase the reliability of reservoir simulation of fractured reservoirs, we propose a new workflow to represent fractured reservoirs by coupling Discrete Fracture and Matrix (DFM) models for fracture corridor properties (which uses finite element and finite volume methods), and the conventional single porosity simulation(which uses finite difference methods).

Relative permeabilities of fracture corridors are upscaled over a single grid block size using DFM models based on an unstructured mesh that accommodates fracture corridor patterns and characteristics. The upscaled relative permeabilities are transferred into a single porosity simulation model to reproduce the behaviour of fractured reservoirs without resorting to the transfer functions.

Various fracture patterns and apertures were studied to investigate their impact on flow properties. Also, different multiphase upscaling techniques were investigated based on the dominant driving forces and the type of boundary conditions used in the upscaling process.

A performance match was done between two models, a fine-mesh DFM model and a simple coarse single porosity model that uses the upscaled relative permeabilities. The models behaved similarly. Recommendations are derived as to how to use appropriate upscaling methods. The new workflow complements and may even have the potential to eliminate the need for classical dual-porosity models.

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