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SPE 164837

Multi-Scale Simulation of WAG Flooding in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs
Mohamed Ahmed Elfeel, Adnan Al-Dhahli, Sebastian Geiger and Marinus I.J. van Dijke; Heriot-Watt University

Copyright 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the EAGE Annual Conference & Exhibition incorporating SPE Europec held in London, United Kingdom, 10–13 June 2013.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
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Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (NFR) contain a significant amount of remaining petroleum reserves and are now being
considered for water-alternating-gas (WAG) flooding as secondary or tertiary recovery. Reservoir simulation of WAG is very
challenging even in non-fractured reservoirs because a proper set of saturation functions that describe the underlying physics is
vitally important but associated with high uncertainty. For NFRs, another challenge is the upscaling of recovery processes,
particularly the fracture-matrix transfer during three-phase flow, to the reservoir scale using dual-porosity or dual-permeability
In this work, we approach a solution to this challenge by building models at various scales, starting from pore-scale to an
intermediate scale then to the reservoir scale. We show how pore-network modelling and fine grid modelling where the
fractures and matrix are represented explicitly can be used to increase the accuracy of numerical simulations at the field-scale
in order to predict recoveries for NFR during WAG. We study the sensitivity to WAG design parameters as well as the impact
of matrix wettability on recovery. We also compare the fine grid model with an equivalent dual-porosity model.
Simulation at an intermediate scale showed at least 10% absolute change in recovery due to the choice of the empirical three-
phase relative permeability model. In fine grid simulation with physically consistent pore-network derived three-phase relative
permeability and capillary pressure, injected water and gas are predicted to displace each other, leaving oil behind, therefore
reducing WAG efficiency. For this case, empirical models over-estimate recovery by 25%. Classical dual-porosity model
over-estimates recovery during the early WAG cycles, and fails to adequately match recovery of the fine grid simulation.
Our multi-scale simulation approach identifies important factors and uncertainties when considering WAG flooding in NFR. It
provides a methodology through which WAG recovery can be estimated using available technology while preserving the pore-
scale physics for three-phase flow, which are crucial to making reliable forecasts at the reservoir scale.
Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (NFR) comprise highly complex heterogeneities as their most conductive features, the
fractures, have the least storage capacity; and vice-versa, their least conductive features, the rock matrix, has high storage but
normally only a small contribution to flow. This renders the design of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) schemes difficult because
of early water and/or gas breakthrough and the overall recovery factor of NFR is often very low. This has been shown in
numerous case studies (e.g. Davidson and Snowdon, 1978; Denoyelle et al., 1988; van Golf-Racht, 1982; Panda et al., 2009).
Nonetheless, a significant portion of the world’s remaining petroleum resources are located in NFR, including super giant
fields in the Middle East. Hence, a detailed understanding of the recovery processes involved in extracting the hydrocarbons
from NFR using EOR techniques is the key to increase the ultimate recovery for such reservoirs.
Continuous water injection is a well established secondary recovery method which aims primarily to displace the oil and
maintain the reservoir pressure. In NFR, oil is first displaced in the fractures but held back in the rock matrix. Oil displacement
from the rock matrix by injected water is capillary dominated and hugely dependent on the wettability of the rock. Water
flooding has been implemented with various degrees of success in NFR (Brownscombe and Dyes, 1952, Thomas et al., 1987).
For unfavourable, i.e. mixed- to oil-wet, matrix wettability, however, water flooding can be ineffective. This was sometimes
shown by field experience. Secondary recovery plans were hence changed from water to gas injection (O'Neill, 1988, van
Dijkum and Walker, 1991).

g. pore-network models can generate a complete saturation function for the same pore structure. 2009). 2013) to generate two and three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure . 2012b.. Al-Dhahli et al.. Gas oil gravity drainage (GOGD) provides an important drive mechanism that can be effective irrespective of the rock wettability preferences (e. Blunt.. This necessitates the use of empirical.. oppose gravity drainage in gas-oil systems or both during three phase flow in WAG flooding (Gilman and Kazemi. capillary and gravity forces is challenging. In almost all reported cases. and in terms of incremental recovery has been regarded as the most successful EOR method in the region (Awan et al. 2012. Predicting the effects of the interplay of viscous. This capillary-gravity driven exchange between fractures and matrix is commonly modelled using dual-porosity or dual- porosity – dual-permeability models. 2010). Hence the impact of three-phase saturation functions on flow and subsequent recovery predictions can be higher in NFR than in conventional reservoirs. 2012a. WAG dominates the applied EOR methods (48%). 1989. where the majority of the world’s WAG injection cases are applied (Christensen et al. Al-Dhahli et al. 2008. WAG application on the field-scale was observed to improve recovery (Christensen et al. time- consuming. Awan et al. However. This has been demonstrated in micromodel experiments that mimic multi-phase flow in conventional (Sohrabi et al.. leading to more uncertainty in the production forecasts.. Gas (continuous or as part of WAG flooding) injection represents more than 80% of EOR projects in carbonate reservoirs in the United States (Manrique et al.g. Al- Dhahli et al. depending on fluid properties and reservoir conditions. In NFR. 2001. They help displacing oil by water spontaneous imbibition. 1) to preserve these processes across various scales. In addition to continuous gas injection in water-flooded reservoirs. capillary forces play a vital role in recovery from matrix blocks in different ways depending on rock wettability and the phases exchanged.. 1996).. Rawahi et al.2 SPE 164837 Gas has better microscopic sweep efficiency and. and therefore often fail to predict experimentally derived three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure functions accurately. 2012).. In NFR. 2012). Delshad and Pope. 2008). or interpolation.g. Elsewhere. models to predict three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure from two-phase experiments (c. For example. Oak et al. Water-alternating-gas (WAG) flooding combines the merits of the two injection fluids described above on macroscopic and microscopic scales while stabilizing the injection front. there are an infinite number of saturation paths that can occur in the reservoir. It is therefore likely that some important recovery processes are lost or misrepresented in this upscaling process. capillary pressure and relative permeability functions have a major impact on fluid exchange between matrix blocks and fractures.and three phase relative permeability and capillary pressure functions experimentally for the same rock sample. Panda et al. Hence gas injection has been applied in many NFR (e. we use a recently developed pore-network model (Al-Dhahli et al. particularly when the rock is mixed or oil-wet (Van Spronsen. Saidi.. 2007). 2000).. 1988. Larsen and Skauge. 2000). as fluid flow is viscous dominated in the fractures. In this paper. such as the Simultaneous WAG (SWAG) and Foam Assisted WAG (FAWAG). 1998. Furthermore. we use a novel pore-network model to predict three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure functions of arbitrary wettability to model fracture-matrix transfer processes during WAG flooding. 1982. while transfer between fractures and matrix blocks is dominated by capillary and gravity forces. Gang and Kelkar. 2011. 1990. can be miscible in the liquid phase oil.. 2008). 1988. so is the risk of by-passed oil and gravity override.g.. reservoir simulation of WAG injection is very challenging because a representative three-phase saturation model is required to predict relative permeability and capillary pressure as water and gas saturations increase and decrease alternately. capillary and gravity forces can be more important in NFR than in conventional reservoirs. We can hence obtain more consistent flow functions needed for WAG flooding simulation in NFR in a limited time frame. While it is difficult.. 1984. Blunt. and costly to obtain all hysteretic two. the availability of gas may be limited to implement a recovery scheme the solely relies on gas injection. van Dijkum and Walker. Er et al. fractures extend the exposure of the injected gas with oil in reservoir rock. these complexities cannot overcome the major deficiency of the empirical models because they are mainly based on interpolating much simpler physics of two-phase saturation functions. 2012) as well as the pre-salt carbonate reservoirs offshore Brazil (Pizarro and Branco.. Three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data is extremely difficult to measure experimentally. Since most of the oil is contained inside the matrix. Although producing more accurate results. preparations are underway to apply WAG to carbonate reservoirs in the Middle East (Kalam et al. Even if experimental evaluation becomes feasible.f... We hence introduce a step-wise upscaling procedure (Fig. 2008). delaying breakthroughs. O’Neill. In addition. and therefore leading to increased oil recovery compared to continuous water or gas injection. At the pore-scale. In the North Sea. Haggort.. which can lead to very early gas breakthrough (e. (Fayers and Matthews. 1980). which renders GOGD more effective than in unfractured reservoirs. 2001). Jakobsson and Christian. Empirical models are continuously becoming more complex to account more realistically for more physical processes that occur when three phases coexist (e. This is excluding other successful forms of WAG EOR methods. Both approaches employ simplified transfer functions to model the exchange of fluids between fractures and matrix and hence resemble a fundamental upscaling process. 1994. 2011. we seek to preserve small-scale recovery processes at the field-scale. Petersen et al. This is particularly true for NFR. 1991. as the gas mobility is very high compared to water and oil. Brodie et al. 2004) and fractured porous media (Dehghan et al. as to ensure that they are well represented in porosity models.

. Colour legends show relative permeability values of oil. respectively. The paper is organized as follows: First. To show the impact of using the wrong empirical interpolation methods for three-phase flow on predicting recovery from NFR during WAG. we introduce the pore-network model. the network was initially saturated with water followed by oil flooding to simulate a primary drainage process.. 2012b). We then compare the results with physically consistent pore- network model derived saturation functions applied to the same model.. Colours represent different phases (red=gas. kro krw krg Figure 2. 2012b) To generate relative permeability and capillary pressure data.. blue=water). Pore scale displacements to predict saturation functions We use a novel three-phase pore-network model (Al-Dhahli et al. we apply them to simulate WAG flooding on an intermediate-scale model containing explicit representations of matrix blocks and fractures. we describe the intermediate-scale model used for comparing pore-network-derived relative permeability and capillary pressure curves with the standard interpolation methods mentioned above.. This includes sensitivity studies on WAG flooding design parameters and wettability. 2). We then compare them with standard interpolation methods of Stone (1970. 2012b). Note that we use a Berea sandstone network for demonstration purposes only. we compare the intermediate scale model and an equivalent dual-porosity model. and the results of the pore-network modelling exercise. 2013) that accounts for all observed microscopic displacement processes during three-phase flow such as multiple displacement chains. 2011. Then. The pore-network model takes realistic 3D pore structures as input. water and gas phases. In this paper. describe the pore structure used to compute the saturation functions. we use a network that is extracted from a process-based reconstruction of Berea sandstone (Øren and Bakke. from left to right. Computing relative permeabilities and capillary pressure curves for more complex pore networks representative of carbonate rocks is readily possible as well (Al-Dhahli et al.SPE 164837 3 functions. Concluding remarks are given at the end. layer formation and collapse. 2003). green=oil. or film flow. The pore-network simulator has been benchmarked against published three-phase experiments for sandstones and micro- models of different wettability (Al-Dhahli et al. Step-wise procedural upscaling of recovery processes in naturally fractured reservoirs. we use the explicit fracture model to evaluate the performance of an equivalent dual-porosity model for WAG flooding. Saturation paths during gas flooding at different initial water saturations after water imbibition into a water-wet sandstone. Finally. Pore Scale Intermediate Scale Reservoir Scale Single Dual Porosity Porosity Figure 1. 1973) and the saturation-weighted interpolation (SWI) of Baker (1988) using two-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data computed with the pore- scale model for the same rock. The input pore-topology and the flooding sequences are described in detail in (Al-Dhahli et al. a series of water flooding (imbibition) simulations followed until the network water saturation reached a predefined value at which gas flooding commenced (Fig. Finally.. Sensitivity analysis is performed on WAG design parameters on the intermediate scale. Next. Al-Dhahli et al.

8 0.20E+05 1.6 0. only smoothed data are shown.00E+04 0.8 1 0 0. respectively.4 0. for two-phase systems.6 0.4 0.00E+04 6. gas-oil drainage and imbibition at connate water saturation were extracted and considered as two-phase functions.4 0.6 0.00E+04 8. For capillary pressure.00E+04 4.6 0. 3).6 0.8 1 Water Saturation Gas Saturation Krw-Dr Kro-Dr Krw-Im Kro-Im Kro-Dr Krg-Dr Kro-Im Krg-Im 1.2 0 0 0 0.4 0.00E+05 8.2 0.e. 1 1 Relative Permeability Relative Permeability 0.00E+04 6.6 0. .2 0. Pore-network results were also smoothed (Fig. The data were smoothed to increase numerical convergence during reservoir simulation (Fig. each relative permeability and capillary pressure curve is a function of one phase saturation only.e.20E+05 Capillary Pressure (Pa) Capillary Pressure (Pa) 1. i.8 1 0 0.4 SPE 164837 Two-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data Relative permeabilities and capillary pressures for water-oil primary drainage and imbibition.4 0.8 0. Relative permeability data points represent the pore-network model prediction while solid and dashed lines represent smoothed reservoir simulation input tables for drainage and imbibition. We ensured that three-phase and two-phase functions are equal at the saturation field boundaries. Three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data Three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data were represented by two-dimensional tables where relative permeability and capillary pressure of a respective phase are functions of two saturations.00E+04 2.00E+04 2.00E+00 0. Water-oil and oil-gas relative permeabilities and capillary pressure data of primary drainage and imbibition.8 1 Water Saturation Gas Saturation Pc‐Im Pc‐Dr Pc‐Im Pc‐Dr Figure 3.2 0.00E+05 1.2 0.4 0. 4) to increase numerical convergence. i.2 0.00E+04 4.00E+00 0 0.

This resembles the classical but highly idealized sugar cube array (Fig. left). Al-Dhahli et al. 2012a). As .SPE 164837 5 Figure 4..and three-phase data discussed in the previous section. 2006). 5). This model allows us to bring results from the pore- scale. to the continuum scale where fractures and matrix are present.. we advance this previous research in that we compare three- phase relative permeability and capillary pressure curves derived from pore-network simulations with those from empirical models for predicting oil recovery from fractured reservoirs during WAG while considering different wettability states. Three-phase relative permeability functions (top) for oil. To simulate WAG cycles. the fractures were instantly filled with water or gas when modelling recovery from the 27 matrix blocks. Here. Surfaces are fitted to pore-network model results (represented by points) to generate input tables for reservoir simulation. water and gas. Three-phase capillary pressure data (right) for water-oil and oil-gas. Note the different colour scale for the water relative permeability. we use linear relative permeability and assume zero capillary pressure. For the fractures. The Intermediate Scale A fine grid model was constructed to investigate the impact of three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure on matrix-fracture transfer for a grid block scale of 50x50x50 ft with 27 (3x3x3) matrix blocks of 12x12x12 ft dimension each. The impact of using empirical interpolation methods and pore-network results for predicting recovery from a clastic reservoir during gas flooding after a prolonged waterflood was also studied recently (Al-Dhahli et al. Figure 5. Capillary pressure values in Pascal. Fine grid model used to simulate fracture-matrix multiphase transfer (green = oil. respectively. in the form of relative permeability and capillary pressure tables. Matrix blocks were assigned two. Top view of the model (top right) and cross-sectional view of the model (bottom right) showing the oil saturation in fractures and matrix. Previous work has already investigated the impact of using different hysteresis methods to predict three-phase flow in unfractured reservoirs (Spiteri and Juanes. 2011. blue = water.

5) during WAG show more than 10% absolute recovery difference (Fig. Vertical grid lines show the boundaries between individual WAG cycles with approximately 2 years length each. empirical models predict that oil recovery continues to increase in subsequent WAG cycles whereas the pore-network derived functions predicted no substantial increase in oil recovery after the first two flooding cycles. recovery predicted for all empirical models reasonably matches recover predictions for the pore-network derived three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure.6 SPE 164837 discussed above. This is because the total average oil saturation is relatively high and hence close to two-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure curves.2 0 STONE1 STONE2 SWI Pore‐network Figure 6. we used the two Stone models in addition to the saturation-weighted interpolation method to model three- phase saturation functions empirically. (G= gas. Comparison of oil recovery from matrix blocks in the intermediate-scale model predicted using three-phase saturation functions from different empirical models and a new pore-network model. During the first two water-gas cycles. 1 W G W G W G 0. 6) based only on the choice of the empirical model for three-phase flow calculations. However. This is because relative permeabilities and capillary pressure functions from the pore-network model cause water and gas phases to displace each other but do not recover additional oil.8 Matrix Oil  Recovery  0. W= water).6 (fraction)  0. leaving the oil phase undisplaced (Fig. 7). Results for oil recovery from the matrix block in the intermediate-scale models (Fig. .4 0.

SPE 164837 7 1000 0 900 ‐100 800 700 ‐200 600 ‐300 Cumulative Water  Cumulative Gas  500 Inflow (STB) Outflow (MSCF) ‐400 400 300 ‐500 200 ‐600 100 0 ‐700 Pore‐network gas STONE1 gas Pore‐network water STONE1 water Figure 7. On the other hand. this can have an impact on the success of the WAG flooding. Then. They clearly show that the difference between oil recovery using saturation functions from the empirical and pore-network models is very pronounced. very short cycles prevent full gravity segregation of the injected fluids in the reservoir. At first. hence predicting that oil continues to be displaced from the matrix and hence an increase oil recovery. Results are shown during the third WAG cycle of Fig. positive: outflow to fractures) for simulations using relative permeabilities and capillary pressure curves from the pore-network and Stone1 model. WAG Flooding Sensitivities Based on the pore-network derived saturation functions. we ran a series of sensitivities to WAG flooding design parameters. For saturation functions from the Stone1 model. For saturation functions from the pore-network. Cycle Order The order of WAG cycles also has an impact on oil recovery from the matrix (Fig. oil displacement by spontaneous water imbibition occurs faster than gas-oil gravity drainage if the matrix is water-wet. In conventional reservoirs. long WAG flooding cycles in very heterogeneous media can lead to early water and/or gas breakthrough. i. Simulation results shown in Fig. 8). 9). the higher the speed of recovery (Fig. However. respectively. For the non-viscous dominated flow between matrix blocks and fractures. leading to reduced sweep efficiency. the behaviour of the liquid exchange suggest that during the third WAG cycle water inflow into the matrix displaces the free gas which had just entered the matrix during the second WAG cycle. the results also show that the shorter the WAG cycle. Cycle Length Often. For example. The pore-network derived saturation functions cause a symmetrical and equivalent water-gas exchange. 6. the cycle length and WAG ratio are subject to availability of the injectant fluids and the economics involved. This is because most of the oil is produced during the first two water-gas cycles due to combination of water imbibition and gas gravity drainage.e. we observed that the overall WAG recovery exhibits little to no sensitivity to the WAG cycle length. whereas the gas outflow for saturation functions from the Stone1 model is not symmetrical and significantly less than the water inflow. little additional oil recovery is achieved when using pore- network model derived relative permeabilities. WAG cycle duration and cycle order. recovery by water imbibition begins to diminish due to the reduction in oil phase mobility as water saturation increases at the boundaries of matrix blocks. Gas gravity drainage displacement continues to increase and eventually outperforms recovery by spontaneous . 7 compare the fluid exchange during the third WAG cycle. Cumulative gas and water flow from matrix blocks to fractures (negative: inflow to matrix blocks. water mainly displaced the oil phase in the matrix. During later WAG cycles. however. as well as studying the effect of altering the matrix wettability.

2 0. 49. Comparison of oil recovery from matrix blocks during two WAG flooding with different WAG cycle order.4 Recovery  (Fraction) 0.8 SPE 164837 water imbibition.7 0.1 0 4years 3years 6years Figure 8. 0.7 0.1 0 01/07/2012 01/07/2015 30/06/2018 29/06/2021 28/06/2024 W‐G‐W‐G G‐W‐G‐W Figure 9. counter-current water imbibition.3 0. Gas-oil gravity drainage is a co- current displacement process that works best without the low oil mobility region created by spontaneous. The water cycle follows the same explanation.5 Matrix Oil  0.6 0.3 0.2 0.7% vs. The reason for the somewhat poorer performance of WAG flooding compared to continuous gas injection is as follows: Water imbibition during WAG flooding has an adverse impact on recovery from isolated matrix blocks if the matrix rock is strongly water-wet: In this case. When WAG cycles are compared against cases of continuous water or gas injection (Fig.4 Recovery  (Fraction) 0. 11). However. Hence. 0. Predicted oil recovery from matrix blocks during WAG flooding with different cycle lengths. This is because of the following reason: When gas flooding occurs after water flooding. recovery for WAG flooding was always higher compared to continuous water injection (56. . hence trapping oil in the centre of matrix blocks. 10).5 Matrix Oil  0. The difference in recovery profiles during gas and water injection for the first and a subsequent WAG cycles is an indication of the competition between the phases. continuous gas flooding predicts the highest recovery at 65%. the average initial water saturation is high. spontaneous imbibition is counter-current and creates a low oil mobility region at the matrix-fracture interface.8%). oil recovery is slow in the beginning because gas displaces water first (Fig.6 0.

5 0. Pore-network modelling can predict . 0.2 0.3 0. 8.7 0.SPE 164837 9 1400 120 1200 100 Matrix Oil  1000 Recovery  80 (STB)  800 60 600 40 400 200 20 0 0 1600 400 1400 350 Matrix Oil  1200 300 Recovery  1000 250 (STB)  800 200 600 150 400 100 200 50 0 0 Figure 10. (2008) showed how the presence of fractures dramatically reduces recovery from a limestone block when its wettability is changed from strongly water-wet to slightly oil-wet rock.6 0. Impact of Matrix Wettability The rock matrix wettability has a significant impact on recovery from NFR. by performing experimental and numerical analysis. Comparison of recovery profiles of first (left) and subsequent (right) WAG cycles during water imbibition (top) and gas gravity drainage (bottom). Haugen et al.1 0 Continuous Gas Injection Continuous Water Injection Figure 11. For example.4 Matrix Oil Recovery  (Fraction) 0. Also shown for comparison in gray are the recovery profiles from the different WAG flooding cases depicted in Fig. Comparison of oil recovery as a result of continuous water and gas injection.

This dramatically changes the efficiency of water injection for recovering oil from matrix blocks: Capillary forces act against water entering the matrix blocks. Al-Dhahli et al. kro krw krg Figure 12. See Fig. enable the water phase to start displacing oil in matrix blocks in the bottom-up direction. Note that water-oil capillary pressure is negative. . Al-Dhahli et al. water and gas phases respectively (top) and capillary pressure functions of oil-water and gas-oil (right) in an oil-wet pore-network. Only 15. Three-phase relative permeability functions for oil. To study the impact of wettability. See Fig. 4 for comparison with the water-wet case. 14). 13 show the resulting relative permeability diagrams and saturation. Recovery as a result of water displacement by gravity forces alone in oil-wet reservoirs is significantly less than that of the combined gravity and capillary forces in water-wet reservoirs (Fig. water gravity displacement in an oil-wet reservoir is a co-current displacement and does not lead to the trapping of oil inside blocks by the low-oil mobility region (Fig.. 12 and Fig. Surfaces are fitted to pore-network model results (represented by points) to generate input tables for reservoir simulation. Figure 13.. However. Colour legends show relative permeability values of oil.2% are recovered in the oil-wet case compared to 42. 2012a. 15). water-oil capillary pressure values are negative in the oil-wet case. Al-Dhahli et al. As expected. 2013). 2012b. due to the density difference between the oil and water phases. 2 for comparison with the water-wet case. three-phase relative permeability functions. this renders subsequent gas gravity drainage displacement more effective compared to a water-wet reservoir (Fig. gravity forces.10 SPE 164837 three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure at various degrees of wettability for the same pore structure by changing contact angles (Al-Dhahli et al.. Saturation paths during gas flooding at different initial water saturation after water injection into an oil-wet sandstone.. 2011. and saturation paths were recomputed but now for different contact angles representing an oil-wet rock. capillary pressures.8% in the water-wet case. This allows the fast quantification of uncertainty and sensitivity of recovery processes due to wettability differences. Capillary pressure values are given in Pascal. water and gas phases. respectively (from left to right). Fig. 14). However.

describing the transfer of water ( ) and gas ( ) can be written as (Ramirez et al.1 0 Water‐wet Oil‐wet Figure 14... nor can we actually obtain such information with the current technology. (G= gas. 1976. Quandalle and Sabathier. Thomas et al. In dual-porosity models. for example for regions away from wells. each grid block may contain numerous matrix blocks and recovery processes are approximated using transfer functions between the fracture and matrix domains. a general transfer function for three-phase flow.. it is not possible to represent all matrix blocks in NFR explicitly in a reservoir simulation due to numerical costs. Also.6 W G 0. 2008). 4 and 13).2 0.5 0. Hence.3 (Fraction) 0. Figure 15. Equivalent Dual-Porosity Model The analysis performed above on the fine gridded intermediate scale helped us to understand the importance of three-phase saturation functions for predicting three-phase fracture-matrix fluid transfer during WAG accurately. The classical dual-porosity model of Warren and Root (1963) has long been extended to account for multiphase flow (Kazemi et al. the above geometry of the fractures and matrix blocks is highly idealized and reservoir simulators would need unstructured gridding techniques to represent fracture more correctly. dual-porosity models are still used in standard industry workflows to simulate recovery from NFR.. Saturation functions where computed using a pore-network model (see Figs. Comparison of oil recovery from matrix blocks of different wettabilities during water injection followed by gas injection. 2009): . Cross-sectional view of water saturation distribution after the first water injection cycle in Fig. Sonier et al. 1983. 1988. When viscous forces in the matrix can be neglected. 14 for a water-wet (left) and oil-wet (right) rock matrix. 1988.SPE 164837 11 0. Lu et al. 1989. W= water). However. Gilman and Kazemi..4 Matrix Oil  Recovery  0.

These are the imbibition shape factor ( ).4 (Fraction) 0. Furthermore. The three phases compete with each other and therefore influence oil recovery. 1985. 6) and an equivalent dual-porosity model. . oil recovery is close to zero. 0. where . 7). The above equations show the importance of three phase relative permeability and capillary pressure functions when computing the transfer rate between the fracture and the matrix blocks. . which is known as multiple interacting continua or MINC method (Pruess. 2008). The equations also identify the dual-porosity parameters used to estimate the fastness of recovery which is determined by matrix block geometries. To increase simulation accuracy. each storing its own saturation values. 16). 2007). capillary pressure should be pseudouised to properly match fine grid simulation (Gurpinar and Kossack.6 Matrix Oil  Recovery  0. Overall it shows a similar behaviour to single porosity simulation although it still over-predicts recovery by 8% absolute (Fig. and . The capillary pressure pseudoisation is currently implemented in commercial reservoir simulators assuming gas-oil capillary pressure is a function of its own saturation only and therefore is not suitable to be used with three-phase capillary pressure.8 0.. gravity drainage shape factor ( ) and matrix block hight ( ). / / .12 SPE 164837 / / . and . matrix blocks can be subdivided into concentric sub-regions. 2000) although without any physical background. In cases where ≃. as we observed in our fine grid simulation results (Fig. Hence. Comparison of oil recovery in a single porosity (Fig. 2000). Rubin. this is also described in (AbuShaikha and Gosselin. . Modification parameters applied to relative permeability of water and/or gas phases also exist to help matching fine grid recovery within an engineering accuracy (Gurpinar and Kossack. the dual-porosity model significantly over-estimates oil recovery during the first WAG cycles (up to 20% absolute difference). During the first two WAG cycles.2 0 Single Porosity Dual Porosity Figure 16. matrix saturation distribution is non-uniform in the matrix (see the water-wet case in Fig.

especially away from wells. In dual-porosity models. 2013. Even if is arbitrarily changed to history match the single porosity oil recovery. it can only increase or decrease the overall speed of recovery but not the shape of the recovery curve. In NFR. . Hence. and therefore mobility. the speed of recovery can also changes with time as different matrix blocks at different size (and permeability) are drained at different rates. that is the changes in recovery speed over time. 9). Maier et al. In reality. A likely question is hence if heterogeneity in the viscous flow field. but final recovery always converged to a similar value (Fig. One key parameter is the shape factor ( ). The sensitivity analysis also showed that recovery speeds up with decreasing length of WAG flooding cycles. Three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure data were derived from a state-of-the-art pore-network model. we examined the capillary and gravity dominated flow between matrix blocks and fractures during WAG flooding using models of multiple scales. This is particularly true for late WAG cycles as saturation profiles are more homogeneous although the dual-porosity model still over-predicts recovery by 8% compared to the single-porosity model. The classical of Warren and Root (1963) has been developed under the assumption of pseudo-steady state pressure boundary conditions. the dual-porosity over-predicts recovery up to 20%. At such low oil saturations.SPE 164837 13 14). Discussion and Concluding Remarks Viscous flow effects of WAG flooding are reasonably well understood: Water and gas reduce each other’s mobility. This is clearly contrary to decreasing speed of oil recovery observed in the single porosity simulation. will dominate recovery or if uncertainty in the fracture-matrix transfer prevails and controls the overall recovery behaviour during WAG. current research interests include the modification of transfer functions to account for variable speed of recovery (Sarma and Aziz. Classical transfer functions are inadequate to describe the recovery process. dual-porosity models are much more uncertain. In such cases. which are commonly used in standard industry simulation practice. Donato et al. possibly. over-estimated oil recovery during late WAG cycles by an absolute difference of 25% compared to physically consistent and pore-network derived relative permeability and capillary pressure functions. arising from non-uniform fracture networks. The equivalent dual-porosity equivalent shows broadly similar recovery behaviour compared to a single porosity model where fractures and matrix are represented explicitly. This delays breakthroughs and improves sweep efficiency. in press). Hence we hence conclude that water imbibition has an adverse impact on recovery from matrix blocks if gas is available for injection. Final recoveries were also similar for cases where the order of the WAG cycles was changed (Fig. wettabilities. empirical interpolation models over-estimate relative permeability. We conjecture that the reason for such a tremendous difference is the more accurate representation of intra-pore displacement processes in relative permeability and capillary pressure functions that are computed from pore-network simulation. This creates a low-oil mobility region at the fracture-matrix interface. The difference in absolute recovery during continuous water injection in an oil- wet and water-wet rock is 28% but once gas injection commences during WAG. continuous gas injection in water-wet rocks yielded higher oil recoveries compared to WAG flooding. We assume this is due to the lack of three- phase capillary pressure pseudoisation in dual-porosity model. speed of recovery does not change with time. Geiger et al. its recovery is still controlled by the low oil-mobility-region.. recovery for both wettability cases reaches similar values because water-oil displacement in the oil-wet case is co-current (Figs. 2006. 2010. To simulate an oil-wet rock matrix. the saturation in the matrix is assumed to be uniform unless a MINC method is applied. can be higher at the centre of the matrix block. it is likely that at the scale of a typical reservoir simulation grid- block matrix blocks have various sizes and each matrix block has different permeabilities and. viscous forces have little to no influence on recovery from isolated matrix blocks and flow between fracture and matrix is dominated by capillary and gravitational forces. Acknowledgement MAE’s PhD project is supported by an Ali Danesh Scholarship. This is due to the low- oil mobility region at the fracture-matrix interface described above. This support is highly appreciated. This affects the speed of recovery during the early flooding cycles.. (Fig. Surprisingly.. 2007. we changed contact angles in the network model to recompute the three-phase relative permeability and capillary pressure functions.. A sensitivity analysis revealed that water imbibition during the water-injection cycles in WAG flooding creates a region of low-oil mobility around matrix blocks. as viscous displacement is not taken into consideration in our work. Although the oil saturation. We would like to thank Schlumberger Information Solution for providing access to ECLIPSE. In this work. Rangel-German et al. In addition. allowing for more oil to be released from the centre of matrix blocks. During early WAG cycles. Hence. whereas continuous water injection recovered less oil compared to WAG. 14 and 15). 8). 6). The application of three-phase saturation functions showed that the empirical interpolation methods to estimate three-phase saturation functions. The results we obtained cannot be used to evaluate WAG flooding success in general.

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