Constructing or refining complex reservoir models at the appraisal, development, or production stage is a challenging and time-consuming task that entails a high degree of uncertainty. The challenge is significantly increased by the lack of modeling, simulation and visualization tools that allow prototyping of reservoir models and development concepts, and which are simple and intuitive to use. Conventional modeling workflows, facilitated by commercially available software packages, have remained essentially unchanged for the past decade. However, these are slow, often requiring many months from initial model concepts to flow simulation or other outputs; moreover, many model concepts, such as large scale reservoir architecture, become fixed early in the process and are difficult to retrospectively change. Such workflows are poorly suited to rapid prototyping of a range of reservoir model concepts, well trajectories and development options, and testing of how these might impact on reservoir behavior.
We present a new reservoir modeling and simulation approach termed Rapid Reservoir Modeling (RRM) that allows such prototyping and complements existing workflows. In RRM, reservoir geometries that describe geologic heterogeneities (e.g. faults, stratigraphic, sedimentologic and/or diagenetic features) are modelled as discrete volumes bounded by surfaces, without reference to a predefined grid. These surfaces, and also well trajectories, are created and modified using intuitive, interactive techniques from computer visualization, such as Sketch Based Interfaces and Modeling (SBIM). Input data can be sourced from seismic, geocellular or flow simulation models, outcrop analogues, conceptual model libraries or blank screen. RRM outputs can be exported to conventional workflows at any stage. Gridding or meshing of the models within the RRM framework allows rapid calculation of key reservoir properties and dynamic behaviors linked with well trajectories and development plans. We demonstrate here a prototype of the RRM workflow using a number of examples.
The work is significant because it allows, for the first time, application of rapid prototyping methods in reservoir modeling and simulation. Such methods are widely used in other fields of engineering design and allow improved scoping of concepts and options prior, or in addition, to detailed modeling. Moreover, SBIM can be used on a range of hardware architectures, including table tops and surface PCs, fostering collaboration within integrated asset teams.