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Rapid Reservoir Modelling: Prototyping of Reservoir Models Using an Intuitive, Sketch-Based Interface

Abstract

Constructing or refining complex reservoir models is challenging and time-consuming. The lack of an intuitive set of modelling and visualization tools that allows rapid prototyping of reservoir models significantly increases the challenge. Conventional workflows, facilitated by commercially available software, have remained essentially unchanged for the past decade. These workflows are slow, requiring months from initial model concepts to flow simulation or other outputs; moreover, many model concepts, such as large scale reservoir structure and stratigraphy, become fixed early in the process and are difficult to retrospectively change, often because the model must be re-gridded if structure and/or stratigraphy change. Uncertainty is often quantified by changing rock properties assigned to grid blocks within a fixed structural and stratigraphic framework, which may significantly under-estimate, or fail to identify the true cause of, uncertainty. Traditional reservoir modelling workflows are poorly suited to rapid prototyping of a range of reservoir model concepts and testing of how these might impact on reservoir behavior. We present a new reservoir modelling approach termed Rapid Reservoir Modelling (RRM) that allows such prototyping and complements existing workflows. In RRM, all reservoir geometries that describe geological heterogeneities (e.g. faults or sedimentologic features) are modelled as discrete volumes bounded by surfaces, without reference to a predefined grid. These surfaces, and also well trajectories, are created and modified using intuitive, interactive techniques from computer visualisation, such as Sketch Based Interface Modelling (SBIM). Input data can be sourced from seismic, geocellular or flow simulation models, outcrop analogues, conceptual model libraries or blank screen. RRM outputs can be exported to conventional workflows at any stage. Meshing of the models within the RRM framework allows rapid calculation of key reservoir properties. We demonstrate the RRM workflow using a number of examples. This work allows, for the first time, application of rapid prototyping methods in reservoir modeling. Such methods are widely used in other fields of engineering design and allow improved scoping of concepts and options prior, or in addition, to detailed modelling. SBIM can be used on a range of hardware architectures, including table tops and surface PCs, fostering collaboration within integrated asset teams.