To accurately represent the underlying geologic model, simulation models must preserve important geologic features. This paper describes a technique for optimally selecting simulation model layers to preserve the heterogeneity in the geologic model. The technique involves selecting optimal locations for simulation model layer boundaries, and determining the number of layers needed. Starting with geologic model layering, the simulation model is sequentially coarsened by combining layers to give the smallest possible difference between geologic model properties and simulation model properties. As the simulation model is coarsened, calculations of sweep efficiency for unit mobility displacements are performed to determine how many layers are needed to adequately describe the heterogeneity of the fine-scale geologic model. This technique has two main advantages over existing technologies for layer selection: 1) it provides a quantitative method for determining the number of layers required to preserve heterogeneity, and 2) although the objective function is flow-based, it does not require extensive computer resources to solve the single-phase flow equations on the geologic model grid. As a result, it is easily applied to very large geologic models.

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