Uncertainty Reduction in Field Development: An Integrated

Approach
Dr. A.K. Nagar #
Sub-Surface Team, Tripura Asset, ONGC, Agartala, India
Ashish Bose,
Geodata Processing and Interpretation Centre, ONGC, Dehradun, India
# dr_aknagar@yahoo.com
Abstract
A comprehensive reservoir development strategy demands reduction of at least two sets of
uncertainty. Foremost of them is flag- marking the quantum and habitat of hydrocarbon in
space. These factors keep on changing, right from the commencement to terminal stage of
the dynamic life of reservoir. They are different from the second set of intrinsically uncertain
factors like entrapment conditions, rock - fluid interaction and drive indices of pool.
Both the sets of uncertainty are feebly co- relatable to each other. Thus, both can not be
solved by a single approach. With the start of step out drilling phase of reservoir evolution,
some geological information regarding the type of play/trap and hydrocarbon potential is
generally revealed by evaluation of data generated by step- out wells. But this much of
information is not enough for casting a robust geological model. 3D seismic input in geological
modeling can sculpt structural and tectonic picture in much better way due to its huge and
dense spread of data; but suffers with low resolution, uncertain lateral boundaries and can not
give a clue of reservoir dynamics. Pressure- production data can quantify available
hydrocarbon in the pool and transmissibility of faults/flow barriers among/between the pools.
In some cases an approximate distance of flow barrier, from the well undergone testing, can
also be known. However, well tests can not yield direction of the flow barrier.
The aforementioned apparent shortcomings of reservoir modeling techniques e.g. 3D seismic,
VSP, logging, well test etc. indicate partial coverage and partial overlaps. In other words these
can be used for reduction of fuzziness in geological/reservoir model, if integrated in problem-
specific manner.
The present paper deals with one of such possible integrated approach through a case study.
The case illustrated was having high risk element and very fuzzy seismo- geological image,
which delayed executive decision to drill three step-out wells by nearly two months. A case
specific integrated flow path of techniques was carefully designed. The work flow designed
also included state of the art CARET based Material Balance Equation i.e. MBE with some
problem – specific modifications. The application of certain techniques was apparently
unusual with respect to their orthodox purpose; but they proved to be plugged in well to
extract desired results.
Introduction: Recapitulation of our knowledge about hydrocarbon pool states that a pool
is the conglomerated manifestation of three episodes of its genesis, viz. hydrocarbon
generation, its migration and finally its accumulation. Major factor behind the migration is
compressive phase of deformation. This phase can also give rise to anticlinorium type of
structures at shallow levels. If the hydrocarbon migration is through the limb/limbs of
anticlinorium, generally it shall lead to generation of structurally linked chain of small pools. In
such scenario, hydrocarbon- water contacts are governed mainly by spill- off points of
culminations and less likely by fluid isostacy. Other salient feature of these types of pools is
their oil/gas lags may be unconnected (discontinuous phase); but they generally share a
common aquifer (continuous phase). The tailing relaxation component of deformation may
also impel re- adjustment of folds and even normal faulting on vectorized portion of basin, till
physical equilibrium is reached. As a result of re- adjustment, the anticlinorium may vanish
and lead to almost flat topology, articulated with seemingly isolated clusters of small pools
and criss-cross shallow faults. The set/sets of pools having partially cleaved sections by
faulting thus may have peizometric continuity through aquifer, still maintaining inherited
different hydrocarbon- water contacts.
In general, a case specific combination of geological and geophysical data leads to
eradication of the first type of uncertainties and yields a fairly usable seimo-geological model,
required for the early phase of development. In second stage, subsequent drilling of early
phase of development wells provides data of reservoir dynamics. This helps in weeding the
second type of uncertainties off and evolving high definition reservoir model out of seismo-
geological model, by sintering reservoir engineering techniques into it. Sometimes the
seismo-geological model is so fuzzy that even the development well locations of first phase
are hard to place. In the proceeding lines, one such case is illustrated with an example of
Miocene reservoir from a western on-land field of India.
Case Study: A Miocene reservoir from a western on-land basin of India, is an illustrative
example of what is stated above. The referred part of basin is also covered by recent 3D
seismic survey. The basin consists of many structural culminations, which are separated by
faults, resulting from two sets of almost orthogonal deformation phases. Initial reservoir
pressures, PVT & core analyses indicate that the reservoirs have attained physical as well as
thermo-dynamic equilibrium. Initial exploratory stage is almost over. Average reservoir
thickness is about 15m. The reservoir is oil bearing, under-saturated, aquifer assisted and
confined to strongly structure controlled, fault bounded, sheet- sand pools. As illustrated in
Fig.1, in North block there are 4 producers and towards south in its neighboring South block,
there are 3 recent producers. There is a saddle and a fault running with E-W trend between
these blocks. Though 3D analysis gave quite a comprehensive structural configuration,
precise depth model could not be constructed because of relatively large variance in velocity
field. Moreover, none of the seismic attribute extracted could yield hydrocarbon boundary.
Average amplitude, the most commonly used window attribute for this purpose, suffered with
dampening effect (Fig. 2), probably casted by hydrocarbon. Such phenomenon is commonly
witnessed in deltaic reservoirs of eastern coast of India also. This makes it hard to determine
whether the seismic signature is of water bearing sand or a non- reservoir facies or the oil/gas
lag
(1)
. Log analysis indicates that OWC of the North block is slightly higher than that of South
block. The initial reservoir pressure of the wells of North block was hydrostatic. They are on
production for quite some times and the block pressure has shown some pressure decline.
On the other hand, in South block Initial reservoir pressure was sub-hydrostatic and was
surprisingly equal to synchronous static pressure of the North block. Though there is just a
discrete & meager production from the wells of the South block, the block pressure has gone
down equal to that of North block. This situation developed an unusual uncertainty as both the
pools were showing similar pressure dynamics; but different OWCs. Poor time to depth
conversion casted by highly heterogeneous 3D seismic velocity field, low sand thickness
(2)
, no
help from seismic attribute analysis, the presence of a saddle and a fault between them were
restricting the decision to drill in-fill locations between the pools. Calculating OOIP was highly
subjective.

Methodology: Analysis of the problem warranted unusual approach to initiate reverse
reservoir modeling, though input parameters required to define aquifer and relationship of well
and reservoir geometry were practically unavailable. Therefore it was unorthodox decision
taken to develop a method by which the reservoir was to be simulated first to prepare a robust
geological model. In such cases where geological picture is unusable, the only way-out is to
go for a mathematical simulation, using MBE instead of numerical simulation. With a little
pressure- production history, especially that of South block, and complex oil- water system,
normal classes of MBE was of little use. Regression linier analysis method of Havlena &
Odeh
(3&4)
yielded irregular cluster, came out a bit too close to the origin of the cross-plot, (Fig.
3) so was of a little use independently. The parameters “U”, the aquifer influx constant, “a”, the
aquifer time constant and “θ”, the aquifer angle open to flow of van Everdingen & Hurst (VEH)
equation
(6)
, were hard to determine up-to desired accuracy. Experimental data cited in
literature indicates that by using “U”, Tehrani
(5)
got the results which are improved 5 times over
Hevlena & Odey’s regression method. In the present case “U” itself is uncertain and moreover
Tehrani’s approach requires multiple regression rather than bivariate simple regression.
Tehrani’s results cannot be duplicated for geologically complex and non-robust aquifer
models. Prior to the work of Hevlena & Odeh, Mc Evan
(7)
derived relationship between “U”,
the aquifer influx constant and OOIP; but with a non-linear equation. Thus it is evident that
none of these methods can solve this particular case, when used independently. The main
reason is different, non-unique methods of dealing with the aquifer and not giving direct
consideration to reservoir expansion among the equations generated. Once the shortcomings
are identified, a key to this deadlock is much simpler. The only thing we have to do is to unify
all the active parameters of aquifer and induce reservoir expansion in a single term. Many of
such approaches are already available in literature, though obscured. The basic idea is to
generate situation dependent Combined Aquifer and/or Reservoir Expansion Term (CARET).
Equation of Material Balance states that:
Mass of reservoir fluid produced = expansion of reservoir fluid-expansion of reservoir
rock+ influx of external fluid in reservoir for
voidage compensation.
In that case the only thing required is to get a relation between mass transfer and expansion
of the system involved. The approach, in first go appears seemingly complex; but in reality it
is fairly straight, as illustrated in following lines.
Flow Path Adopted:
1. Calculated “a”, the aquifer time constant, by using altered form of hydraulic diffusivity:
a = 2.3092

,
`

.
|
2
ri c
k
e
φµ
where Φ= porosity, µ=oil viscosity and ri=inner aquifer radius.
2. Based on the seismic image (fig. 1), assumed values for dimensionless aquifer radius
ratios, “rD” for North and South block separately as first scenario and calculated
respective values of “F” (the reservoir voidage) & “ECARET” at each measured pressure
of the reservoir by using following equations:
F = Np(Bo-Rs Bg)+(Gp)Bg+(Wp-We)Bw
ECARET = Efwo Eo Boi
hg
hA
Swo
S c
e
+ +
]
]
]

,
`

.
|

,
`

.
|
− 1
1
2
Where Np = total amount of oil produced, Bo is formation volume factor(FVF)
of oil, Rs=solution GOR, Bg= FVF of gas, Gp= total gas produced, Wp= Total water
produced, We= total water influx, Bw= FVF of water, ECARET= combined
aquifer/reservoir term for waterdrive oil reservoir, ce = effective aquifer
compressibility, S=aquifer influx function, Swo= initial oil zone water saturation,
hA=aquifer thickness, hg=reservoir thickness, Boi= initial FVF of oil, Eo=oil and
solution gas expansion term and Efwo=Oil zone formation and water expansion term.
Induction of separate rDs for blocks was meant to break any hydraulic continuity
between them; but did not work. Error minimization loops with every iteration became
divergent instead of convergent (Fig. 4). Oil lags of both the pools were not joined, as
both the pools were having different OWCs. As second scenario, rD of the North
block was gradually increased. In early stages, system started stabilizing, but showed
different degree and pattern of ECARET with dimensionless time “a” for each block (Fig.
5). The iteration was stopped when errors from both the blocks minimized and
eventually showed a single value (Fig. 6). This enhanced value, when analyzed,
indicated that the aquifer is large enough to be a single, probably bottom water
aquifer for both the pools. The pressure conduction between the pools came out to be
of the order of 70%
(8&9)
. This can be inferred that oil lags of both the pools are
separate and pressure conduction between them is through a sluggish, confined &
single aquifer.
Since no gas cap was observed on logs as well as on seismic AVO analysis of both
the pools, the term “m” (gas cap to oil zone ratio) and its related components of
McEwen’s equation were dropped.
3. Bivariate linear regression was carried out iteratively with ECARET on x and F on y axes,
to determine “N” (OOIP). In this linear approach the relation among these three
parameters can be expressed by:
F=NECARET
The regression line was forced to pass through the origin, as if any of the two
variables has zero value, the other variable cannot have non-zero value. The slope of
the line, as evident from the expression, is “N” or OIIP.
4. Since iteration and linear regression both are statistical techniques, they inject error in
the system with every step. Error analysis required for minimizing error (within +
standard deviation) in terms of coefficient of variation “V” at every cyclic step was
carried out by using following expression:
V= 100
F
s
CARET
FE

,
`

.
|
Where
F
is arithmetic average of the n values of “F” used and standard error of
estimate of F from ECARET is:
CARET
FE
S
=
( )
1
2



n
F F
fit
5. Error analysis was used to minimize the error generated by the range of the values of
rD iteratively used for the determination of the single value of rD which yielded
minimum “V” and thus the best fit value of N. Since almost all the parameters to
determine N were brought to minimum error status, this approach should give a fairly
reliable value of N. This value of N can be more refined through numerical simulation
in future when sufficient pressure-production history and better reservoir description
is available.
Discussion and Conclusion: The case study presented for illustration of one of the
way to erase uncertainty is one of a rare kind. Different OWCs; but same dynamic response
of reservoir pressures can only be explained in a unique geological situation. For this kind of
scenario, the structuring has to be pre-migratory. During migration, the suitable structures
encountered first were charged up to their respective spill off points and rest of the
hydrocarbon charge moved ahead till spent off. Only in such cases displaced water will form a
common aquifer; but OWCs would be governed by relative depths of spill off points of each
charged structure. In the present case it is almost certain that if infill drilling is carried out in
saddle part of the structure (between the North and South blocks), the wells are going to land
in water bearing portion of the reservoir.
From the afore stated case, it is clear that by proper evaluation of the problem and case
specific integration of geophysics, geology and reservoir engineering, it is possible to reduce
uncertainty of a reservoir to a considerable extent. However a single technique or a subject
specific approach may not work at all.
Fig. 1: Depth Map on Top of The Horizon Fig. 2: Average Amplitude of The Horizon
1
2
3
4
2
3
1
North Block
South
Block
Fig. 3: Havlena & Odeh’s Model Fig. 4: Unstable Model Due to Less rD Taken
Fig. 5: ErrorCARET & Two Dimensionless
Aquifer Radii (of North & South
Blocks) vs. “a”
Fig. 6: ErrorCARET & Dimensionless Aquifer
Radius vs. “a”
References:
1. Cynthia, T. Kalkomey (1997),” Potential Risks When Using Seismic Attributes as
Predictors of Reservoir Properties”, Leading Edge, pp 247-251.
2. Deutsch, C.V., Srinivasan, S.,Mo.Y.,(1996),”Geostatistical Reservoir Modeling
Accounting for Precision and Scale of Seismic Data”, SPE Paper No. 36497, in Ann.
Tech. Conf. and Exhib. Denver pp 9-16
3. Havlena, D. and Odeh, A.S.(1963),”The Material Balance as an Equation of a
Straight Line.”, JPT, Aug, pp 896-900.
4. Havlena, D. and Odeh, A.S.(1964),”The Material Balance as an Equation of a
Straight Line-Part II, Field Cases” JPT, July, pp 815-822.
5. Tehrani, D.H. (1985),”An Analusis of a Volumetric Balance Equation for Calculation of
Oil in Place and Water Influx”. JPT, Sept., pp 1664-1670.
6. van Everdingen, A.F. and Hurst, W. (1949),” The Application of the Laplas
Transformation to Flow Problems in Reservoirs” Trans. AIME, V186, pp 305-324.
7. McEwen, C.R. (1962),”Material Balance Calculations with Water Influx in the
Presence of Uncertainty in Pressures”, SPEJ, Jun, pp 120-128
8. Hird, K.I. & Dubrule, Oliver(1998) “Quantification of Reservoir Connectivity for
Reservoir Description Applications”, SPE Paper No. 30571, in SPE Annual Technical
Conference & Exhibition, Dallas, 22-25 Oct., (pp 12- 17).
9. Ambastha, A.K., Sageev, A. (1987),” Linear Water Influx of an Infinite Aquifer
Through a Partially Communicating Fault”, in Proc. 12
th
Stanford Geothermal
Reservoir Engineering Workshop, Stanford, CA, Jan. 1987, (pp 109- 117).

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