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JULY 2011 The Better Business Publication Serving the Exploration / Drilling / Production Industry

Techniques Enhance Reservoir Studies


By Deepankar Dee Biswas DALLASIntegrated simulation studies assimilate integrated data from various sources into a comprehensive framework where a whole view of the reservoir emerges for an improved understanding of the reservoirs response and for formulating exploitation strategies. The key becomes to carefully investigate the gathered data and extract meaningful information from them so that they can be used in a uniform manner in the simulation environment. The utility of an integrated model to make exploitation and investment decisions is widely accepted in the oil and gas industry. A variety of data acquisition techniques, modern work flows, engineering and geological software and interpretation know-how are making the process streamlined and efficient. However, challenges remain on at least two fronts. First, it always will be impossible to drive down the uncertainties below a certain threshold, primarily because of limited well control, and these exploitation (and investment) decisions are critical at the early stages of development when data are usually sparse. Second, an integrated study cannot be a unidirectional process from start to finish. In other words, the different elements of the process have an iterative nature to them. As one moves forward in the process, he may have to rectify, modify or recreate some of the hypotheses the model is built on. This can arise both because of new data arriving or certain key understandings being developed as the process matures and data from different sources is integrated. The process needs to be able to adapt quickly and be flexible enough to assimilate the alterations required by this iterative process. The other side of the coin dictates that experts dedicated to this process cannot be complacent with an hypothesis simply because it was established upstream in the work flow process. One should be ready to question, cross-check and validate existing foundations with new ideas, techniques and methodologies. The latter point is highlighted by independent engineering analysis done with algorithms that demonstrates how the overall integrated work flow is enriched. In one case study, the cause of unusual water production was independently verified, and when the new reasoning was translated into the simulation model, it resulted in a better water production match. In a second case study, a capacitance resistance model (CRM) was used in conjunction with production diagnostics and a simulation model to extract insights about reservoir connectivities without any prior geological bias. CRM can be used in variety of ways to unearth information on injected water utilization and pattern balancing. FIGURE 1 Volume Modifications for History Matching And Zero-Time Cumulative Gas Production (MMcf)
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Finally, a third example demonstrates how specialized techniques were used to populate simulation inputs to characterize a fractured carbonate reservoir. Clustering analysis and well log interpretive correlations confirmed the presence and continuity of fractures, which in turn, resulted in better history matching and more reliable production forecasts. Water Production A large gas field in North Africa is located on a well defined northwest-tosoutheast trending anticline with closure defined by a gas/water contact identified with some certainty from logs. The reservoir rock is limestone with both primary and secondary storage and flow properties. It has two distinct geologic layers with different facies, quality and properties. Detailed petrophysical, core studies and geocellular modeling have been performed to build the reservoir architecture. A petrographic study concluded that the sediments of the dominant nummulitic

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Reproduced for SiteLark with permission from The American Oil & Gas Reporter

www.aogr.com

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FIGURE 2 Injectors and Producers in Waterflood Unit grid-based history matching, and arbitrary patterns can be studied over any period with essential elements learned without the arduous, time-consuming conventional history matching process. In addition to history matching, CRMs ability to predict future performance is another area of strength, especially when assessing the benefits of redistributing water to optimize production. Other benefits for day-to-day waterflood monitoring include identifying injected water losses out of pattern, curtailing production or injection based on preferential injector producer connectivity, realigning patterns based on response, and assessing oil recovery under various injection rates. Similar to well allocation factors and injector efficiency in streamline simulations, CRM provides time constants and gain factors. The objective of one study in a waterflood with seven units containing about 70 wells apiece was to understand the efficiency of the injected water and the effectiveness of the fields reservoir management strategy, ascertain if injected water was sliding outside the pattern boundaries, and most importantly, to investigate ways to redistribute water to improve recovery. Figure 2 shows one of the units in the mature field. Water injection started with peripheral injection, with producers progressively converted into injectors as they started to water out. The total injection period was split into three intervals based on operational considerations. Individual time periods were analyzed with CRM to obtain specific insights, looking at how injected water was lost initially, what producers were under the influence of injectors, and what injectors were most effective. CRM consistently suggested that proximity to an injector does not necessarily mean better injection support. It also displayed regions where water seemed to travel out of pattern. Based on these results and production diagnostics, the operator was advised with specific strategies to redistribute water and regions to prioritize for a quick turnaround and increased recovery. In another CRM application, producing wells in one field appeared to be responding to injection support from an injector in a neighboring field, leading to speculation that the adjacent fields were in communication. Seismic interpretation and regional geologic mapping found evidence of fracture corridors, and CRM confirmed the validity of the hypothesis.

packstone facies had changing reservoir characteristics at different depths. The geoceullar modeling reconciled and incorporated the petrophysical, core analysis, seismic and engineering production diagnostic results into a consistent framework. The structural and stratigraphic modeling help build the skeleton of the reservoir. The properties are distributed in the grid the usual way. Finally, facies and other attributes are upscaled systematically to the simulation grid. Neither seismic nor routine core analysis had any direct evidence of the presence of fractures. Consequently, the geocellular modeling could not include this information with any confidence. During the history matching process, local volume modifications were needed to simultaneously match gas production and pressure behaviors (Figure 1). The locations of volume modifications mirrored the locations of sustained production from wells as measured in cumulative production, indicating that the wells in the crestal region encountered larger volumes than what the geocellular model originally allocated. Moreover, the initial attempts to history match this reservoir resulted in unusual water production, especially in the crestal wells. There were uncertainties about the source of this water. The gas/water contact did not rise fast enough to break through at these wells, which are completed in the upper layer. The possibility that the water was encroaching from other layers through cracks in the casing was eliminated by careful water fingerprinting from the wells. Once it was confirmed that the water was indeed

reservoir water, attention turned to reinvestigating well-related data. Detailed analysis of modified isochronal tests revealed systematic repetition of negative skin and permeability values higher than normal permeability values. In addition, the tests of horizontal wells can be matched only when vertical fractures are allowed. This hypothesis of vertical fractures seemed more feasible when the tectonics of the area were revisited, since it seemed the crestal folds and faults were more conducive to creating and maintaining swarms of vertical fractures. This finding was back-propagated into the history match model to successfully converge an agreeable fluid production scenario, with water production and other attributes demonstrating a better match. CRM Technology CRM characterizes the connectivity between injection and production wells, and can determine injection schemes to maximize the value of assets. Model parameters are identified using linear and nonlinear regression under various problem-dependent constraints. Significant insights about field performance can be gained by estimating the fraction of injected fluid being directed from an injector to various producers, and the time required for an injection signal to reach a producer. Rooted in signal analysis and material balance, CRM can rapidly attain a performance metric without having to build an independent geologic model. CRM has many advantages, including the ability to quickly gauge injector producer connectivity. It can be a precursor to detailed

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A collection of wells was selected from each of the two fields, including one injector in each field, to determine the connectivity of the injectors and the producers in each field. As Figure 3 shows, the producers under the influence of each of the injectors span both fields. Furthermore, increasing distance from the injector does not necessarily mean lower influence. This is a complex function of reservoir heterogeneity and fractures creating preferential flow conduits. Figure 4 shows possible areas of fracture-dominated flow compared with matrix flow in other areas. While higher time constants typically mean either less injection support or low drainage radius, higher gains indicate better injection influence. Of course, it is possible that completely new sets of fractures are present in the area marked tight and matrix-like, which are not tapped by the injection scheme. Production Diagnostics Midale reservoirs in the Williston Basin are primarily fractured carbonates interspersed with anhydrites that appear and disappear in a haphazard manner. The matrix is tight and production is possible only because of natural fractures. Early attempts to history match multiple fields in the basin with single porosity models were unsuccessful. Subsequent simulations of other fields with similar characteristics consistently suggested dual-porosity system behavior. Novel techniques were developed to capture fracture properties and populate reservoir models. Production diagnostics metrics were created to determine fracture location and inter-connectedness, while clustering techniques were used to relate to production diagnostic metrics. Bulk water volumes in the upper and lower lobes of the log traces corroborated the findings. The combination production diagnostics and clustering improved the reliability of history match results and overall forecast scenarios. The total field and well-by-well production were plotted first. The wells production signature indicated the existence of fractures, where a high initial production peak is immediately followed by a precipitous decline, after which most wells produce at low rates with marginal declines. Moreover, a rapid increase in water cuts in the majority of wells suggests the presence of vertical fractures acting as conduits to water flow from lower zones or an aquifer. Initial production rates and cumulative FIGURE 3 Gains Matrix versus Distance From Injector Wells

production were plotted in time-lapse plots. It was inferred that high initial and cumulative production indicate the connectivity of fractures in the vicinity of that particular well location. However, this might not always be beneficial since the fractures could be connected to larger bodies of water, resulting in a rapid increase in water cuts in those wells. The central and northeast parts of the field have the best performance. Furthermore, between the maximum oil rate and zerotime cumulative oil production (ratio of cumulative oil to time of production), it FIGURE 4

can be surmised that although the presence of fractures is widespread from the central part of the field extending to the northeast part, only a localized part concentrated toward the central area exhibited longerterm sustained production. Clustering Analysis The next exercise applied the statistical technique of clustering to search for similarity in data variables. This purely statistical technique agglomerates data based on a criterion of similarity between two user-defined variables. Clustering uses a

CRM Results Indicating Possible Areas of Fracture-Dominated Flow NWU - SMU Field

Fracture-like features, good injection support, large drainage volume

Matrix-like features, tight, less injection support, low drainage volume

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FIGURE 5 Cluster Analysis Results similarity algorithm in clustering groups wells with similar (lower recovery and initial production with lesser distance from fractures) attributes. Figure 5 shows the results of cluster analysis performed with one variable fixed as the distance from fractures. Wells A, B, C and D were chosen later to correlate production with well logs. By and large, the similar wells (diamonds enclosed in the red regions) follow the same trend as shown in the production diagnostics section (i.e., the better wells are outside the red region in the central and northeast parts of the field). This similarity is represented by unity (1) for the top six clusters and zero (0) for the rest Production And Well Logs An attempt was made to unravel the varying production behaviors of the wells by correlating production to interpreted logs. The well logs of four sample wells are shown in Figure 6. Almost every log exhibits two lobes with appreciable porosity: an upper (U) and a lower (L) lobe. Furthermore, the lower lobe almost always contains high water saturations, which trends up with increasing porosity. The production of a given well seems to be a function of the distance of the perforations from the lower lobe (e.g., perforation length, separation of the upper and lower lobes, etc,) as well as the amount of water present in the lower lobe (i.e., bulk volume, which by definition, is the product of porosity and water saturation). The analysis revealed that Well A (log at upper left) is one of the better wells in the field with 50 percent recovery at a 40 percent water cut. This is supported by the log, which shows the perforations are restricted to the top part of the upper lobe. Additionally, both upper and lower lobes seem to possess lesser quantity of water saturation. Wells B (upper right), C (lower left) and D (lower right) have performed poorly with a maximum of 22 percent recovery at a 40 percent water cut, although the reasons are different for each well. Even though Well B is also perforated in the upper part of the lobe, the high bulk volume in the lower lobe is enough for the fractures to direct the water into the perforations. Well C has longer perforations that short-circuit the prolific water presence in the lower lobe to the well bore. Despite limited upper perforations, Well D suffers from high bulk volume in the upper lobe as well. A similar exercise was repeated for

data array to classify (cluster) the cases (rows) of data into groups according to the values of their attributes (columns), seeking to separate data into groups based on individual cases. The project employed an agglomerative clustering technique that graphically summarizes the clustering pattern on a dendrogram, or tree graph. Clustering starts at the tips and fuses the two most similar groups (initially individual cases) into one group. The fusion procedure continues, ultimately working to a single root. In this case, four secondary variable

groups (recovery at both 20 and 40 percent water cuts, and initial oil and water production rates) were used against two primary variables (distance from fractures and perforation length). The inherent assumption was that production behavior in this reservoir was severely impacted by the presence of vertical fractures, with fracture connectivities to high water saturation in the lower zones further degrading production potential. The first primary variable is defined as the distance of the bottom of the perforations to the lower lobe. Therefore, the

FIGURE 6 Logs of Four Wells with Different Production Performance


A B

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the other wells, and the valuable insights obtained in terms of fracture connectivity have been incorporated into the dynamic model. Several field development scenarios to institute a waterflood were then investigated, including regular and inverted patterns of five, seven and nine spots with and without horizontal wells. Care was taken to utilize existing wells as much as possible to implement a given pattern. For proper pattern balancing and efficiency, all patterns were initiated at the same time, although a separate case was investigated to examine the effect of a staggered pattern. Finally, all scenarios were compared, based on similar benchmarks of production and water utilization. The production was compared based on relative incremental recovery as compared with the basis case, where existing production wells were produced for the entire duration of the 25-year forecast. In contrast, the volume of water injection is compared, based on a ratio of relative water injection with the case injecting the most water. In the end, the water utilization factor (incremental recovery per barrel of injected water) also was contrasted for completeness. r

DEEPANKAR DEE BISWAS

Deepankar Dee Biswas is president of SiteLark, a petroleum engineering consulting and software firm in Dallas. With 18 years of experience, his expertise includes interdisciplinary projects in conducting reservoir characterization, reservoir engineering and simulation studies, simulator development and litigation support. Biswas previously served at Mobil, DeGolyer & MacNaughton, and ONGC. His experience spans assignments in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States. He is a past vice chairman of education for the Dallas chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and has served as an SPE technical editor. Biswas holds a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.