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**Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation
**

J. R. Villa, SPE, PDVSA Intevep; M. O. Salazar, SPE, Universidad Central de Venezuela

Copyright 2007, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2007 SPE Latin American and Caribbean

Petroleum Engineering Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 15-18 April 2007.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review

of information contained in an abstract submitted by the authors(s). Contents of the paper,

as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are sub-

ject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reﬂect

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sented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the

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acknowledgement of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE,

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Abstract

Upscaling reservoir properties for reservoir simulation is one of

the most important steps in the workﬂow for building reservoir

models. Upscaling allows taking high-resolution geostatistical

models (10

7

-10

8

grid blocks) to coarse scale models (10

4

-10

5

grid blocks), manageable for reservoir simulation, while re-

taining the geological realism and thus effectively representing

ﬂuid transport in the reservoir

1,2

. This work presents a study of

the effectiveness of different available techniques for permea-

bility upscaling and the implementation of a new technique for

upscaling of relative permeability curves based on the nume-

rical solution of a two-phase system and the Kyte and Berry

method

3

.

The reference ﬁne scale model considered in this study is a con-

ceptual ﬂuvial reservoir based on the Stanford V model

4

. The

reference ﬁne scale isotropic and locally heterogeneous per-

meability distribution was upscaled to different upscaling ratios

by means of analytical (static) and numerical single-phase (pre-

ssure solver, dynamic) techniques. Two-phase ﬂow simulations

were performed on the reference ﬁne grid and upscaled models

using a comercial black-oil simulator. Arithmetic, harmonic,

and geometric averages were deﬁned for static upscaling of

the permeability distribution. The dynamic upscaling process

considered one-phase and two-phase upscaling. One-phase

upscaling considered upscaling of the permeability distribution

and two-phase upscaling considered upscaling of the permea-

bility distribution and relative permeability curves.

Flow simulation results for waterﬂooding in the coarse scale

model indicated relevant discrepancies with the ﬁne grid re-

sults. Compared to ﬁne-scale, ﬂow results of the single-phase

upscaling process indicated that the coarsest upscaled models

did not match the water breakthrough times, water cut values,

or well pressures from the reference model. The ﬁner upsca-

led models reproduced the reference results more accurately

than the coarser models. The two-phase dynamic upscaling

technique implemented in this work resulted in the best match

with the ﬂow simulation results of the ﬁne grid model. Results

show that the most accurate upscaling scheme should be de-

ﬁned using the two-phase dynamic upscaling technique on the

model with the smallest upscaling ratio.

Introduction

Reservoir models generated by geostatistical techniques, high-

resolution ﬁne scale models (10

7

-10

8

grid blocks), are capa-

ble of with great precision reservoir characterization as for

compartmentalization, heterogeneity, connectivity and struc-

ture. However, the main drawback of high-resolution models

is the signiﬁcant computational cost when performing reser-

voir simulation. Upscaling reservoir properties allows taking

high-resolution models to coarse scale models (10

4

-10

5

grid

blocks) reducing computational costs during ﬂow simulation

for history matching and forecast. Permeability upscaling plays

and important role in reservoir characterization

5

, as shown in

Figure 1. The importance of using an appropriate upscaling

technique consists in preserving the geological realism of high-

resolution, ﬁne-scale models, thus preserving the ﬂow response

in reservoirs

1,2

. Permeability upscaling is an active research

topic, numerous studies on upscaling have been conducted by

university researchers

6,7

and industry

2,8

.

In this work, the effectiveness of different permeability upsca-

ling techniques is evaluated using reservoir simulation. Ana-

lytical and numerical single-phase upscaling techniques were

used with different upscaling ratios for a conceptual ﬂuvial

reservoir. Public available software was used for this purpose.

In addition, an alternative technique based on two-phase nume-

rical upscaling was developed and implemented. Using these

techniques, ﬂow simulation results of upscaled models were

compared with the reference ﬁne scale model in terms of ﬂow

2 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

production, well pressure and saturation distribution.

The sensitivity study of different permeability upscaling tech-

niques is referred to a conceptual ﬂuvial reservoir based on the

Stanford V model

4

. As much for the ﬁne scale model as upsca-

led models the numerical simulation of an oil-water inmiscible

displacement process was effected, speciﬁcally a waterﬂooding

process. This work includes the evaluation of static upscaling

techniques (arithmetic, harmonic, and geometric) and dynamic

upscaling techniques (one-phase and two-phase). The ﬁne scale

reference model was upscaled to four different upscaling ratios.

This work allows to understand the impact of using different

upscaling techniques on the simulation results. Investigation on

gridding techniques was not considered in this study.

Theory

Darcy’s Law Darcy’s law express the relationship between

ﬂuid velocity and pressure gradient in a porous media. The

Darcy velocity can be written in matrix notation for a Cartesian

system (neglecting gravity) as:

u = −

1

µ

k · ∇p (1)

In Equation 1, u is the velocity vector, k permeability tensor

and ∇p the pressure gradient.

Permeability Tensor The permeability of the porous media is

a property that can vary at any point and on any direction in the

three-dimensional space

5

. It is mathematically represented by

the full permeability tensor k (Equation 2). Each component of

the permeability tensor represents the directional permeability

at one point in space. The permeability tensor is usually taken

to be locally symmetric (k

ij

= k

ji

).

k =

¸

k

xx

k

xy

k

xz

k

yx

k

yy

k

yz

k

zx

k

zy

k

zz

¸

(2)

If there is an orientation such that u and ∇p are parallel for

a full tensor k, the principal orientation of permeability is ob-

tained. This leads to the principal values and directions of the

permeability tensor (eigenvalues and eigenvectors):

k

∗

=

¸

k

∗

xx

0 0

0 k

∗

yy

0

0 0 k

∗

zz

¸

(3)

The tensor k

∗

is the diagonal permeability tensor.

Governing Equations In single-phase incompressible ﬂow,

neglecting gravity and capillary effects, the conservation Equa-

tion is written as:

∇· u = 0 (4)

using the Darcy’s law, Equation 4 becomes:

∇· (k∇p) = 0 (5)

In two-phase incompressible ﬂow, Darcy’s velocity is written

as:

u

j

= −

k

rj

µ

j

k · ∇p (6)

where, k

rj

is the relative permeability of phase j, and µ

j

is the

viscosity of phase j. The conservation equation is written as:

∇· u

t

= 0 (7)

subsituting Equation 6 in Equation 7 yields:

∇(λ

t

(s) k · ∇p) = 0 (8)

where λ

t

is the total mobility, deﬁned as:

λ

t

(s) =

k

rw

µ

w

+

k

ro

µ

o

(9)

Classiﬁcation of Techniques Upscaling techniques can be

classiﬁed in terms of the parameters to be upscaled. In

one-phase parameter upscaling technique, the ﬁne-scale

permeability tensor (k) is upscaled to a coarse-scale effective

permeability tensor (k

∗

) while retaining the ﬁne-scale rela-

tive permeabilities. Analytic and numerical methods are used

for this purpose. On the other hand, in two-phase parameter

upscaling technique, ﬁne-scale relative permeabilities (k

rj

) are

also upscaled to curves of different shapes (k

∗

rj

). These curves

are usually referred as effective or pseudo-r elative permeabi-

lity curves and their generation is accomplished by numerical

methods. Figure 2 illustrates these upscaling techniques.

Analytic methods Analytic methods for computing one-

phase parameter upscaling involve the solution of Equation 5

with no-ﬂow boundary conditions in the non-communicative

layered system shown in Figure 3, with n horizontal layers of

permeability k

i

and dimensionless thickness h

i

. Flow in x di-

rection is referred as parallel ﬂow and upscaled permeability

results in the arithmetic mean of permeability values in each

layer:

k

∗

xx

=

n

¸

i=1

k

i

h

i

(10)

Flow in the z direction is referred as series ﬂow and results in

the harmonic mean of permeability values in each layer:

k

∗

zz

=

n

¸

i=1

h

i

k

i

−1

(11)

For this 2D system, the effective permeability tensor is:

k

∗

=

k

∗

xx

0

0 k

∗

yy

(12)

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 3

where k

∗

xx

and k

∗

yy

are the principal values of the permeability

tensor. Although permeability values were locally isotropic,

effective permeability values in Equation 12 are constant and

anisotropic, meaning that when upscaling ﬁne-scale permea-

bility values, coarse-scale permeabilities are anisotropic even

with isotropic ﬁne-scale permeability.

An estimate for systems with spatially random permeability can

be obtained using the geometric average of permeability values

where there is no particular assumption of ﬂow direction:

k

g

= exp

1

n

n

¸

i=1

log k

i

(13)

In systems with constant h

i

, Equation 13

9

can be also ex-

pressed as:

k

g

=

n

¸

i=1

k

i

1

n

(14)

A generalization of these averages techniques is known as the

Power Law

10

. This empirical relation is written as:

k

ω

=

1

n

n

¸

i=1

k

ω

i

1/ω

(15)

The Power Law allows to determine the effective permeability

k

ω

of a set of volume elements for different values of ω ranging

between -1 and 1. For values of ω = 1, 0, −1, Equation 15

results in arithmetic, geometric and harmonic averages, respec-

tively. In general, arithmetic average provides an upper bound

to k

∗

, and the harmonic average provides a lower bound. Fi-

gure 4 shows the effective permeability computed for differents

values of ω in a heterogeneous system

10

.

Numerical methods Numerical methods involve the solu-

tion of Equation 5 or Equation 8 for the pressure distribution

using ﬁnite-difference methods. In one-phase dynamic upsca-

ling, each component of the diagonal permeability tensor is cal-

culated separately depending of the ﬂow direction. To solve

the pressure distribution, arbitrary boundary conditions are as-

signed in the target coarse grid block (Figure 5) and the pre-

ssure of each ﬁne grid block inside the target coarse grid block

is computed by the solution of the single phase incompressible

ﬂow steady state Equation 5. This equation can be expressed in

ﬁnite difference form and written as a matrix equation as:

Tp = b (16)

where, T is the transmissibility matrix, b a vector representing

the source / sink term and p the unknown pressure vector. Once

the pressure vector is calculated, the effective permeability of

the target coarse grid block in the x direction (k

∗

xx

) is computed

as follows:

k

∗

xx

=

n

x

n

y

n

z

(p

in

−p

out

)

nz

¸

k=1

ny

¸

j=1

k

1jk

(p

1jk

−p

in

) (17)

where, n

x

, n

y

, and n

z

are the number of ﬁne grid blocks in

the x, y, and z direction respectively, p

in

is the pressure in the

inlet of the coarse gridblock, p

out

is the pressure in the outlet of

the coarse grid block, k

1jk

is the absolute permeability in each

ﬁne grid block next to the inlet, and p

1jk

is the pressure in each

ﬁne grid block next to the inlet. The terms, k

∗

yy

and k

∗

zz

can be

obtained in a similar fashion.

In two-phase dynamic upscaling, it is recognized that it is not

enough to upscale the absolute permeability to characterize

transport in porous media under inmiscible displacement

processes

2

. Therefore, the ﬁne-grid relative permeability curves

(k

rj

) are upscaled to different curves (k

∗

rj

) and thus the ﬂuid-

rock interaction in the coarse-scale model is considered. This

kind of upscaling performed by generating pseudo-relative per-

meability curves allows to better represent ﬂuid ﬂow when the

ﬁne-grid relative permeability curves function are not able to

represent. The main methods for generating pseudo-relative

permeability functions

11

are Kyte and Berry method, Stone

method, weighted porous volume method, weighted relative

permeabilities method, and the Kirchoff’s Law method. All

these methods use numerical ﬂow simulation results on the

high-resolution ﬁne-scale model to generate the relative per-

meability curves of the coarse-scale model.

Upscaling ratio The upscaling ratio is deﬁned as:

r =

n

N

(18)

where, r is the upscaling ratio, n the number of ﬁne grid blocks,

and N the number of coarse grid blocks. The upscaling ratio

represents a measure of how coarse is the coarse model. The

larger upscaling ratio the coarser the upscaled model. Figure 6

shows two coarse models at different upscaling ratios.

Methodology

The methodology propossed for this work involves the use of

analytic and numerical methods to upscale a ﬁne-grid model to

four different upscaling ratios. Figure 7 illustrates the metho-

dology followed in this work. Flow simulations are performed

on the reference model and on the coarse-scale models and

comparisons are made based on the calculated error. Analytic

upscaling and single-phase dynamic upscaling of the ﬁne-

grid model was performed using the Fortran-based program

ﬂowsim

12

. For two-phase dynamic upscaling, a new Fortran-

based program ﬂowsim2p was coded for this porpuse, following

a similar structure to GSLIB suite of programs

12

. Porosity ups-

caling was performed using program upscaler

12

and program

gsl2ecl

12

was used for output compatibility to the black-oil

reservoir simulator ECLIPSE

13

. An automated workﬂow and

post-processing of results were implemented using the applica-

tion MATLAB

14,15

.

4 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

ﬂowsim2p The computational tool developed in this work and

termed ﬂowsim2p was coded in Fortran90

16

and implements the

Kyte and Berry method for generating pseudo-relative permea-

bility curves

11,17

. In the Kyte and Berry method, the ﬁne-scale

properties are weighted to obtain coarse-scale properties and

later used in the Darcy’s law to obtain pseudo-relative permea-

bilities curves corresponding for each phase (j) and for each

coarse-grid block:

k

∗

rj

= −

µ

∗

j

q

∗

j

T

∗

∆p

∗

j

−∆ρ

∗

j

g∆D

∗

(19)

where, k

∗

rj

is the pseudo-relative permeability of a coarse-grid

block for phase j, µ

∗

j

the phase viscosity of a coarse-grid block,

q

∗

j

the phase rate in one speciﬁc direction associated to a coarse

grid block, T

∗

the weighted transmissibility between a coarse

grid block and its neighboring grid block, ∆p

∗

j

the pressure

difference between the target coarse grid block and its neigh-

boring grid block, ρ

∗

j

the phase density associated to a coarse

grid block, g the gravity term, and ∆D

∗

the thickness diffe-

rence between the target coarse grid block and its neighboring

grid block.

As shown in Equation 19, time-dependent phase pressure and

saturation is computed in each ﬁne-grid block inside the target

coarse-grid block. Some drawbacks associated with the Kyte

and Berry method can be found

18,19

. These include: proble-

matic gridblocks due to ﬂow restrictions, unability to generate

ﬂow direction-dependent curves, and high computational cost

for global boundary conditions. In ﬂowsim2p, an inmiscible

oil-water displacement in a target coarse grid block is formu-

lated and speciﬁc boundary conditions are imposed in the target

coarse grid block (Figure 8). The displacement process is fo-

cused locally and the global boundary conditions are ignored,

the oil phase has no dissolved gas, the gravitational and capi-

lar effects are negligible, the rock and ﬂuid compressibilities

are dismissed, series ﬂow is assumed between neighboring ﬁne

grid blocks, the ﬂuid viscosities are taken constant, and the

duration time of the process is variable depending of the coarse

grid block size.

Figure 9 shows the workﬂow of program ﬂowsim2p. First,

the input data is stored, then the program computes the pre-

ssure and saturation distribution of each phase inside the target

coarse grid block, and ﬁnally the pseudo-relative permeability

curves are generated. This process is repeated a certain time

step number depending of the coarse-grid block size.

Reference ﬁne-scale model In this work, the ﬁne-scale model

used is a conceptual ﬂuvial reservoir based on the Stanford V

model

4

. This is a Cartesian model with 130,000 grid blocks

(100x130x10) as shown in Figure 10. The heterogeneous

porosity and locally isotropic permeability distributions were

generated using nonconditional sequential Gaussian simulation

20,21

. The reservoir has four oil production wells and one water

injector well. Permeability and porosity distributions are shown

in Figures 11 and 12, respectively.

Cases Four cases were deﬁned in this work. Each case co-

rresponds to a different upscaling ratio. Different upscaling

techniques were used for all cases. Table 1 shows the diffe-

rent cases proposed in this study. Case 1 is the ﬁnest upscaled

model with 50x65x10 (32,500 grid blocks), Case 2 has 50x26x5

(6,500 grid blocks), Case 3 has 10x13x5 (650 grid blocks) and

Case 4 is the coarsest upscaled model with 5x5x5 (125 grid

blocks). Upscaling ratios r are 4, 20, 200, and 1,040 respec-

tively.

Results and Discussion

A waterﬂooding process was performed in the ﬁne-grid model

and in each coarse-scale model using the black-oil reservoir

simulator ECLIPSE

13

. This program is a fully-implicit, three

dimensional, three phase, general purpose black-oil reservoir

simulation. There are four vertical producing wells located at

the reservoir boundaries. Water is injected through one ver-

tical wells located in the middle on the reservoir. All wells

are open to ﬂow over the entire thickness. All wells exhibit

no formation damage. Well constraints include maximum oil

production of 20,000 STB/d and maximum bottom-hole pre-

ssure of 1050 psia at the injection well. No restriction were

deﬁned to the ﬁeld production or well water cut. Simulation

results were post-processed for analysis and visualization using

MATLAB

14

. First, discussion of numerical simulation results

is presented and later, an evaluation of the upscaling errors is

considered.

Simulation results Figures 13 to 17 shows the permeability

ﬁeld and water saturation distribution for different upscaling

ratios (r) and at the lower layer of each corresponding model.

In the case of two-phase dynamic upscaling (Figure 17), ﬂow

simulation of the coarse-scale models was performed with the

correspondent pseudo-relative permeability curves. It is impor-

tant to emphasize that the end-points of the pseudo-relative per-

meability curves are the same as the end-points of the relative

permeability curves of the ﬁne-scale model, since displacement

efﬁciency of the reference ﬁne-scale model is preserved

3

. The

increase in the upscaling ratio, the difference in shape between

the pseudo-relative permeability curves and the ﬁne-scale re-

lative permeability curves. When upscaling absolute permea-

bility, the capacity of capturing heterogeneities is lost as the

upscaling ratio increases, and the saturation proﬁle loses repre-

sentativety with respect to the reference ﬁne-scale model. It is

precisely the shape of the pseudo-relative permeability curves

that compensates this lost of representativity. Also, this diffe-

rence between the pseudo-curves and the original curves does

not indicate that the pseudo-curves are better or worst, this fact

only indicate the upscaling ratio used. For the cases of arith-

metic, harmonic, geometric and one-phase dynamic upscaling

(Figures 13 to 16) it is maintained the tendency of losing the

representativity on the permeability ﬁeld and saturation proﬁles

as the upscaling ratio is increased.

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 5

Figures 18 to 22 show the bottomhole pressure and water cut at

the four production wells for the differents techniques and ups-

caling ratios. Each well have early breakthrough times respect

to the reference ﬁne-scale model. Performance of the bottom-

hole pressure response is also. This difference less marked in

the case of two-phase dynamic upscaling (Figure 22), which

is the technique that presents the best ﬁt of the ﬂow response

by well respect to reference ﬁne-scale model. On the contrary,

the harmonic static upscaling (Figure 19) is the technique that

generates the ﬂow response less representative.

Figures 23 and 24 show the responses of ﬁeld water cut and cu-

mulative oil production, corresponding to different techniques

and upscaling ratios. Once again, it can be observed how as

it increases the upscaling ratio the ﬂow responses become less

representative of what is happening in the reference ﬁne-scale

model. For instance, in the cumulative oil production graphics

for the models of greater upscaling ratios the technique of har-

monic upscaling begins to fail remarkably on representing the

ﬂow performance.

Figure 25 presents the CPU time required to perform the ﬂow

simulation on the studied models. Here, one motivation of per-

forming upscaling is demonstrated by reducing the simulation

time decreasing the number of grid blocks of the model. In fact,

it can be observed that increasing on the magnitude order of the

number of grid blocks generate increasings on the magnitude

order of the simulation time. However, it should be established

a balance between the decreasing of the simulation time and

the representativity maintenance of the ﬂow performance that

happens on the reference ﬁne-scale model.

Upscaling errors This sections presents an evaluation of the

upscaling error computed for each technique used. Error is is

deﬁned by Equations 20 and 21:

e =

¸

k

1 −

¯

Sw

k,r

Sw

k,r

n

r

(20)

and,

¯ s

w

k,r

=

¸

i

s

wi

n

r

, ∀i k (21)

where r is the upscaling ratio, s

wi

the water saturation of a ﬁne

grid block i inside a grid block k, s

w

k,r

the water saturation of

a coarse grid block k at upscaling ratio r, ¯ s

w

k,r

the weighted

water saturation of ﬁne grid blocks respect to a coarse grid

block k, n

r

the number of coarse grid blocks at upscaling ratio

r, and e the upscaling error. Equations 20 and 21 basically

establish the difference between the block saturation on the

upscaled model and the average ﬁne-grid block saturations in

the corresponding coarse-grid block. Figure 26 illustrates the

procedure for the calculation of the upscaling error.

Figures 27 to 31 show the error maps in gray scale for each

one of the upscaling methods. Larger errors are located in grid

blocks on the water-oil interfase of the waterﬂooding process,

indicating that upscaling errors increment in blocks with partial

water and oil saturation. When two-phase dynamic upscaling

method is used, errors are signiﬁcantly reduced on the oil-

water interfase (Figure 31), indicating that upscaling errors are

reduced in those grid blocks.

Table 2 shows the total upscaling errors in each case for diffe-

rent techniques and upscaling ratios. When two-phase dynamic

upscaling method is used in Case 1, the smallest upscaling error

is obtained. The harmonic static upscaling in the Case 4 ge-

nerates larger errors. Figure 32 shows the upscaling errors for

each case and method evaluated.

In general, analytic and numerical upscaling techniques can be

evaluated in terms of a total error. Figure 33 shows that nume-

rical techniques generate smaller upscaling error that analytic

techniques. The difference in the upscaling error can reach

up to 10%, for the studied model, when upscaling ratio is in-

creased.

Conclusions

Based on the oil and water production, well pressures, and

saturation results obtained from the simulation results using

dynamic and static upscaling, it can be see that by upscaling,

earlier water breakthrough times result. According to the repro-

duction of the reference water cut, the most accurate dynami-

cally upscaled result came from 50 ×65 ×10 model.

Numerical upscaling techniques provides better prediction than

does analytic upscaling. Dynamic upscaling will provide more

accurate results relative to static for a given set of boundary

conditions because different ﬂow regimes can be accounted for

in a single model. Lastly, reliable future predictions can only be

obtained when geologic models depict the ﬁne-scale case ac-

curately and precisely. Regardless of the upscaling method, the

averaging process will alter the original permeability ﬁeld. The

degree of difference between the resulting effective permeabi-

lity and the true reference controls how different the grid block

pressure and water saturation, well water cuts and bottom-hole

pressures will be in the upscaled models relative to the ﬁne

scale. When analytic techniques were used, geometric static

upscaling generated the best ﬂow representativity. Upscaling

relative permeabilities showed an improvement in upscaling

results. Two-phase dynamic upscaling generated better ﬂow

response than the one-phase dynamic upscaling.

An important aspect is the upscaling ratio, which determines

the accuracy of production predictability. With a high upsca-

ling ratio, the accuracy of the production prediction decreases.

There is a limit on how coarse a model can be without intro-

ducing signiﬁcant errors. This limit is important particularly

when extreme permeability features are present in the reser-

voir, which directly affect the ﬂuid ﬂow.

Results show that there is no an optimal upscaling technique

suitable for any ﬁne-scale model. For each ﬁne-scale model,

6 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

a sensitivity study of different upscaling techniques with diffe-

rent upscaling ratios should be performed to determine the least

upscaling error technique.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Universidad Central de

Venezuela and PDVSA Intevep for the use of its computa-

tional facilities, and the Department of Petroleum Engineering

at Stanford University for the use of its computational tools.

Nomenclature

u = velocity vector

p = pressure vector

s = saturation vector

k = permeability tensor

k

∗

= diagonal permeability tensor

T = transmissibility matrix

b = source/sink vector

∇p = pressure gradient

n = total number of ﬁne grid blocks

N = total number of coarse grid blocks

ip = identiﬁcator number of ﬁne grid blocks

k = absolute permeability of a ﬁne grid block

h = thickness of a ﬁne grid block

λ

t

= total mobility

ω = power parameter

k

ω

= effective permeability obtained by Power Law

k

g

= geometric average of permeability values

p

in

= pressure at the inlet of a coarse grid block

p

out

= pressure at the outlet of a coarse grid block

p

1,j,k

= pressure on ﬁne grid blocks next to the inlet

k

1,j,k

= permeability on ﬁne grid blocks next to the inlet

v

i,j,k

= volume of a ﬁne grid block

∆t = timestep size

γ, m = Corey’s terms

A = cross-sectional area to the ﬂow

References

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Stanford University, California, USA, 2002.

2. Christie, M. Upscaling for Reservoir Simulation. Jour-

nal of Petroleum Technology, November 1996.

3. Westhead, A. Upscaling for Two-Phase Flow in Porous

Media. California Institute of Technology, 2005.

4. Mao, S. and Journel, A. Generation of a Reference

Petrophysical-Seismic Data Set: The Stanford V Reser-

voir. Technical report, Stanford University, California,

USA, 1999.

5. Villa, J. R. Simulaci´ on de Yacimientos. Universidad Cen-

tral de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela, 2005.

6. Durlofsky, L. “Upscaling of Geocellular Models for

Reservoir Flow Simulations: A Review of Recent

Progress”. Paper presented at 7 International Forum on

Reservoir Simulation, Germany, June 2003.

7. Holden, L. and Nielsen, B. F. Global Upscaling of Per-

meability.

8. Stern, D. “Practical Aspects of Scaleup of Simulation

Models”. Paper SPE 89032, 2005.

9. Ahmed, T. and McKinney, P. D. Reservoir Engineering

Handbook. Gulf Professional Publishing, Houston, TX,

USA, 2001.

10. Journel, A., Deutsch, C., and Desbarats, A. “Power Ave-

raging for Block Effective Permeability”. Paper SPE

15128 presented at the 56 California Regional Meeting,

California, USA, September 1986.

11. Cao, H. Evaluation of Pseudo Functions. Master’s the-

sis, Stanford University, 1988.

12. Deutsch, C. and Journel, A. GSLIB - Geostatistical

Software Lybrary and User’s Guide. Oxford University

Press, New York, USA, 1998.

13. Schlumberger. ECLIPSE Reference Manual, 2003.

14. The Mathworks, Inc. MATLAB, The Language of Tech-

nical Computing, 2005.

15. Hanselmanz, D. and Littleﬁeld, B. Mastering Matlab

6: A Comprenhensive Tutorial and Reference. Prentice

Hall, New Jersey, USA, 2001.

16. Chapman, J. FORTRAN 90/95 for Scientists and

Engineers. McGraw-Hill, New York, USA, 2005.

17. Inanc, O. A Sensitivity Study on the Effectiveness of

the Pseudo Relative Permeability Concept, PE224 Class

Project. Technical report, Stanford University, Califor-

nia, USA, 2000.

18. Pickup, G. and Stephen, K. An Assessment of Steady-

State Scale-Up for Small-Scale Geological Models.

Technical report, Heriot-Watt University, 2000.

19. Barker, J. and Thibeau, S. “A Critical Review of the Use

of Pseudo Relative Permeabilities for Upscaling”. Paper

SPE 35491 presented at European 3-D Reservoir Mod-

elling Conference, Stavanger, Norway, April 1996.

20. Deutsch, C. V. Geostatistical Reservoir Modeling. Ox-

ford University Press, New York, USA, 2002.

21. Stanford University. Geostatistical Earth Modeling Soft-

ware, 2004.

22. Kleppe, J. Reservoir Simulation. Technical report, Nor-

wegian University of Science and Tecnology, January

2006.

23. Vaca, P. Simulaci´ on de Yacimientos. Universidad Central

de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela, 2003.

24. de la Garza, F. R. Simulaci ´ on Num´ erica de Yacimientos.

Technical report, PEMEX, M´ exico, 2000.

25. Mattax, C. and Dalton, R. Reservoir Simulation. SPE,

Richardson, Texas, USA, 1990.

26. Fanchi, J. Principles of Applied Reservoir Simulation.

Butterworth-Heinemann, Texas, USA, 2001.

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ratory Relative Permeability Curves. An Advantageous

Approach Based on Realistic Average Water Satura-

tions”. Paper SPE 69394 presented at the SPE Latin

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 7

American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Confer-

ence, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 2001.

Appendix A: ﬂowsim2p Algorithm

The ﬁrst step ﬂowsim2p executes is to read and store the input

data deﬁned in the parameter ﬁle, including porosity and per-

meability data (Figure A-1). Considering the ﬁne-grid model

showed in Figure A-2, an index number is assigned to each ﬁne

grid block:

ip = (k −1)n

x

n

y

+ (j −1)n

x

+ i (A-1)

where, ip is the index number, (i, j, k) the Cartesian coordinates

of a ﬁne grid block in x, y, and z, and n

x

, n

y

, n

z

the number

of grid blocks in each direction. The next step is to calculate

the effective permeability of the target coarse grid block by

harmonic mean (Equation 11).

Next, ﬁne grid block pressures and saturations inside a coarse

grid block are computed. The pressure equation is deﬁned and

solved by the IMPES method

22

as shown in Equation A-2:

[T

o

+ T

w

]

α

p

α+1

±[b

o

+ b

w

]

α

= 0 (A-2)

where, T

o

and T

w

are the transmissibility matrix for oil and wa-

ter respectively, p the pressure vector, b

o

and b

w

the source/sink

terms of oil and water respectively, α represents the previous

timestep, α + 1 represents the current timestep, and 0 the null

vector. In ﬂowsim2p, the capillary effects are neglected and

therefore p

o

=p

w

=p. This equation is solved by the LSOR

method

23,24

.

Once the pressure distribution inside the target coarse grid

block is calculated, the phase saturation is calculated by the

following equations

25,26

:

T

o

α

p

o

α+1

±b

o

α

=

φv

i,j,k

∆t

s

o

α+1

−s

o

α

(A-3)

T

w

α

p

w

α+1

±b

w

α

=

φv

i,j,k

∆t

s

w

α+1

−s

w

α

(A-4)

where, φ is the porosity of a ﬁne grid block, v

i,j,k

the volume

of the respective ﬁne grid block, ∆t the timestep size, and s

o

,

s

w

the phase saturation vectors.

The phase relative permeability value of each ﬁne grid block

inside the target coarse grid block can be determinated by the

Corey relations

9

:

k

rw

= γ

1

s

w

−s

wc

1 −s

wc

−s

or

m1

(A-5)

k

ro

= γ

2

1 −s

w

−s

or

1 −s

wc

−s

or

m2

(A-6)

where, k

rw

and k

ro

are the relative permeabilities of water and

oil respectively, s

w

the water saturation in the current time

step, s

wc

the connate water saturation, and s

or

the residual oil

saturation. The terms γ

1

, γ

2

, m

1

, and m

2

are real numbers

determined from the original relative permeability curves and

solving a linear system of equations.

The ﬂow rate in each ﬁne grid block is determined using

Darcy’s law for two-phase ﬂow

27

:

q

j

= −

k

rj

µ

j

kA

∂p

∂x

(A-7)

where, (j) represents the respective phase, q

j

the phase ﬂow

rate at one speciﬁc direction, k

rj

the phase relative permeabi-

lity, µ

j

the phase viscosity, k the absolute permeability, A the

cross-sectional area to the ﬂow, and ∂p/∂x the pressure gradi-

ent.

The phase pressure difference and phase saturation of the target

coarse grid block is determined by the following equations

11,17

:

∆p

∗

j

= p

∗

j

inlet

−p

∗

j

outlet

(A-8)

p

∗

j

=

¸

k

rj

k h p

j

¸

k

rj

k h

(A-9)

s

∗

j

=

¸

v s

j

v

∗

(A-10)

where, (j) represents the respective phase, ∆p

∗

j

the effective

phase pressure difference at the target coarse grid block, p

∗

j

inlet

and p

∗

j

outlet

the effective phase pressures at the inlet and out-

let of the target coarse grid block respectively, k

rj

the phase

relative permeability of each ﬁne grid block inside the target

coarse grid block, k the absolute permeability of each ﬁne grid

block inside the target coarse grid block, h the thickness of each

ﬁne grid block inside the target coarse grid block, p

j

the phase

pressure of each ﬁne grid block at the respective face (inlet or

outlet) inside the target coarse grid block, s

∗

j

the effective phase

saturation of the target coarse grid block, s

j

the phase satura-

tion of each ﬁne grid block inside the target coarse grid block,

v the volume of each ﬁne grid block inside the target coarse

grid block, and v

∗

the volume of the target coarse grid block.

ﬂowsim2p calculates the phase difference pressure considering

solely local boundary conditions and therefore only the ﬁne

grid blocks at the inlet and outlet of the target coarse grid block

are used. If global boundary conditions were considered, it

would take into account the central sides of two neighboring

coarse blocks.

Finally, the phase pseudo-relative permeabilities of the target

coarse grid block are determined by Equation 19 adapted to the

premises and suppositions of ﬂowsim2p:

8 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

k

∗

rw

=

µ

∗

w

q

∗

w

D

∗

x

D

∗

y

D

∗

z

k

∗

∆p

∗

w

(A-11)

k

∗

ro

=

µ

∗

o

q

∗

o

D

∗

x

D

∗

y

D

∗

z

k

∗

∆p

∗

o

(A-12)

where, k

∗

rj

are the phase pseudo-relative permeabilities, D

∗

x

,

D

∗

y

, D

∗

z

, the coarse dimensions at each main direction, k

∗

the

effective permeability of the target coarse grid block, ∆p

∗

j

the

phase pressure difference at the target coarse grid block, q

∗

j

the

effective phase rate of the target coarse grid block calculated by

the summation of the phase rates of the ﬁne grid blocks at the

central side of the target coarse grid block, and µ

∗

j

the effec-

tive phase viscosity of the target coarse grid block calculated by

volume weighted mean of the viscosities of the ﬁne grid blocks.

This process is iteratively repeated for each time step. The num-

ber of time steps dependes on the size of the coarse grid block.

Finally, an output ﬁle is generated (Figure A-3), containing the

pseudo-relative permeability curves of a coarse-scale model for

a deﬁned upscaling ratio.

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 9

Table 1: Cases

Cases Number Upscaling ﬁne/coarse

of blocks ratio n

i

/N

i

Fine: 100x130x10 130,000 1 [1 1 1]

Case 1: 50x65x10 32,500 4 [2 2 1]

Case 2: 50x26x5 6,500 20 [2 5 2]

Case 3: 10x13x5 650 200 [10 10 2]

Case 4: 5x5x5 125 1,040 [20 26 2]

Table 2: Upscaling errors

Upscaling Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4

method

Arithmetic 3.5% 12.3% 14.1% 18.1%

Harmonic 3.9% 17.6% 19.9% 23.9%

Geometric 3.2% 9.2% 11.6% 17.2%

Single-phase 2.9% 6.9% 10.9% 16.6%

Two-phase 2.4% 5.2% 10.5% 15.8%

Figure 1: Reservoir modeling workﬂow

Figure 2: One-phase and two-phase parameter upscaling

Figure 3: a) Parallel ﬂow, b) Series ﬂow

Figure 4: Power Law

10

10 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

Figure 5: Flow scheme considered in one-phase dynamic

upscaling

Figure 6: Two reservoir models at different upscaling ratios

Figure 7: Methodology for upscaling the reference model

Figure 8: Boundary conditions and ﬂow scheme at the target

coarse grid block considered on ﬂowsim2p

Figure 9: Workﬂow for ﬂowsim2p

Figure 10: Permeability distribution and well locations in the

reference ﬁne-scale model

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 11

Figure 11: Histogram of permeability distribution in the re-

ference ﬁne-scale model

Figure 12: Histogram of porosity distribution in the reference

ﬁne-scale model

Figure 13: Permeability and water saturation distribution for

different upscaling ratios - arithmetic static upscaling

Figure 14: Permeability and water saturation distribution for

different upscaling ratios - harmonic static upscaling

12 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

Figure 15: Permeability and water saturation distribution for

different upscaling ratios - geometric static upscaling

Figure 16: Permeability and water saturation distribution for

different upscaling ratios - single-phase dynamic upscaling

Figure 17: Permeability and water saturation distribution for

different upscaling ratios - two-phase dynamic upscaling

Figure 18: Bottom-hole pressure and well water cut for

different upscaling ratios using arithmetic upscaling

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 13

Figure 19: Bottom-hole pressure and well water cut for

different upscaling ratios using harmonic upscaling

Figure 20: Bottom-hole pressure and well water cut for

different upscaling ratios using geometric upscaling

Figure 21: Bottom-hole pressure and well water cut for

different upscaling ratios using single-phase upscaling

Figure 22: Bottom-hole pressure and well water cut for

different upscaling ratios using two-phase upscaling

14 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

Figure 23: Field water cut for different upscaling ratios and

upscaling methods

Figure 24: Field cumulative oil production for different

upscaling ratios and upscaling methods

Figure 25: CPU time vs. number of blocks

Figure 26: Upscaling error calculation

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 15

Figure 27: Upscaling error distribution for different

upscaling ratios using arithmetic upscaling

Figure 28: Upscaling error distribution for different

upscaling ratios using harmonic upscaling

Figure 29: Upscaling error distribution for different

upscaling ratios using geometric upscaling

Figure 30: Upscaling error distribution for different

upscaling ratios using single-phase upscaling

16 Permeability Upscaling Techniques for Reservoir Simulation SPE 106679

Figure 31: Upscaling error distribution for different

upscaling ratios using two-phase upscaling

Figure 32: Upscaling error vs. upscaling ratio for different

upscaling methods

Figure 33: Upscaling error vs. upscaling ratio for analytic

and numerical methods

Figure A-1: Parameter ﬁle for ﬂowsim2p

SPE 106679 J. R. Villa, M. O. Salazar 17

Figure A-2: Fine grid blocks arrange inside a coarse grid

block - ﬂowsim2p

Figure A-3: Output ﬁle of ﬂowsim2p

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