Most geostatistical methods for generating plausible facies models require prior knowledge of the facies proportions distribution to account for heterogeneity within the reservoir. This parameter affects the flow behavior, predictive performance and fluid volume distribution of the model. In practice, it is hardly known with certainty and it is important to account for this uncertainty in the modeling and history matching phases.

The ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF), when modified appropriately, to account for non-linearity and non-Gaussianity, is quite robust for automatic history matching problems. However, because the problem of history matching applied to facies is complex, most attempts at solving this problem typically assume constant petrophysical properties and stationary facies proportions. However, realistic representation of facies distribution requires incorporating the variation in petrophysical properties in the geologic model, in addition to any associated uncertainty. This is critical to correctly defining the flow connectivity within the model and the variations in storativity within facies.

In this paper, we investigate a number of practical issues in history matching applied to facies with heterogeneous petrophysical properties and non-stationary proportions: (1) Can we account for heterogeneity in facies petrophysical properties during history matching and subsequently reduce any associated uncertainty in them by sequential calibration to data? To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that heterogeneity in facies petrophysical properties has ever been applied to problems of this kind; (2) What is the EnKF performance when the facies proportions are stationary but implicitly uncertain? (3) Can EnKF efficiently adjust the facies boundaries and distributions when the prior proportions are assumed known but non-stationary?

To answer these questions we designed three different test problems. We show that when the facies proportion is non-stationary the EnKF is a robust in estimating the facies properties and distribution.

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