Application of Fractured Reservoir Simulation Concepts-Teapot Dome
Around the oil patch there has been much grumbling about the complications, inefficiencies and disappointments that seem to multiply in fractured reservoirs. Oil fields start out fine, but “fall apart” as they exhibit their fractured nature.
An overview of the evolving methods applied to fractured reservoir characterization is presented to set the stage for three topics; 1) Flow characterization concepts formed during a six-year DOE-funded effort to develop and apply new fractured reservoir characterization tools, 2) Current simulation approaches for fractured reservoirs, and 3) Example applications at the Teapot Dome Field, Wyoming.
The concepts applied to Teapot Dome Field will be visually emphasized using outcrop photos, physical fracture models, simulated fracture networks, and fluid flow models. Improved assessment of the relative degree of reservoir fracturing improves reservoir modeling and justifies data collection for improved simulation constraint.
Fractured reservoir modeling is improved by a parallel effort in reservoir storage and reservoir flow characterization (beyond classification by permeability and porosity levels). Flow characterization recognizes the hierarchy of flow across scales; reservoir, area, pattern, well, and completion. Assessment of reservoir oil mobility and our ability to impact it is improving as the range is expanded for scale-dependant relative permeability, capillary number, and matrix to fracture fluid transfer.
A fractured reservoir is broken, but it may still perform in a predictable and profitable manner.