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Upscaling and Upgridding

for Reservoir Simulation

and History Matching

What is Upscaling?

• The role of upscaling is to accurately represent the heterogeneous

property of a grid block cell due to the fine scale local variation of
rock properties with a homogeneous single value for that property
across the cell.

• Upscaling converts a set of fine scale geological properties into a

representative single property value for a given volume of interest,
usually a fluid flow simulation grid block.

• The upscaling methods range from simple averaging to sophisticated

fluid flow-based simulation experiments.
Upscaling in Reservoir Modelling

Example: Upscaling permeability by a factor of twenty five

Upscaling converts a set of fine scale geological properties into a

representative single block value for a given volume of interest.
The Danger of Arithmetic Averaging of Permeability
Cross-Sectional Upscaling Exercise
Upscaling Exercise: Results
Upscaling Exercise: Observations

• Basic Averages:
Harmonic Average < Geometric < RMS < Arithmetic Average

• 2D/3D Directional Averages: Rigorous!

Harmonic < Harmonic-Arithmetic < Arithmetic-Harmonic
< Arithmetic Average

• 2D/3D Flow Based Directional Averages: Rigorous!

Arithmetic-Harmonic < Sealed-Sides < Open-Sides

• Flow based averages are the most sensitive to the internal sand /
shale / mud architecture
Upscaling Exercise: Learning

• Different averages tell us different things about the

original model:
– Some averages tell us about the sand quality
– Some averages tell us about barriers to flow
– Some averages tell us about flow around barriers

• Directional averages tell us more about the layered

nature of the geologic model
– From 1d well data alone, we cannot know the size
of barriers, but we can estimate upper and lower bounds
– With 3d geo-models, we can do more
Upscaling Exercise: Recommendations

• Reservoir quality (Sands)

Arithmetic, rms, directional harmonic-arithmetic,
directional arithmetic-rms, flow based open sides

• Reservoir barrier (Muds, Shales)

Flow based sealed sides, directional arithmetic-
harmonic, harmonic

• Flow around barriers (Tortuosity)

Compare the sealed side flow based calculation with
the open sides, or sealed sides with a WIDE buffer region
What does Kv/Kh mean?

• Don’t forget, permeability is directional, both on input and output.

• Look at how the KV/KH ratio (PERMZ/PERMX) decreases as you upscale.
• Discuss vertical permeability as a non-local flow quantity. In other words, flow
in one part of the model depends upon the reservoir quality elsewhere.
Look at laterally continuous shales, both with and without a break, as the
obvious example.
Averaging of Permeability: Summary

• Static properties (gross rock volume, net volume,

pore volume, original fluid volumes) can be upscaled
with welldefined combinations of addition and multiplication

• Permeability upscaling is not as well-defined:

You might need to perform two or three distinct
upscaling calculations to capture reservoir quality,
reservoir barriers, and flow around barriers

• This is an opportunity not an issue!

• BUT, not well understand (& causes much unhappiness!)

Upscaling Checklist

• Model layering
• Reservoir quality
• Reservoir barriers
• Flow around reservoir barriers
• Validation
• Expectations - it’s still an approximation!
Upscaling Validation & Diagnostics
• Basic:
– 2D & 3D Visual Inspection
– Statistics: Min/Max/Averages

• Are physical correlations preserved, or new ones

– PERM with zone thickness? PERM with depth?

• Static and Dynamic Connectivity

– Time of Flight (streamlines, etc.)
– Primary depletion

• Sector Models & Sequential Upscaling

Can you suggest any more?

Uplayering: Difficulties

• How many layers are required to

preserve vertical heterogeneity
in fine-scale geologic models?

• No quantitative method currently

Uplayering: Li and Beckner 2000

• Groups layers through minimizing

residual (difference of defined property
between fine-layer and coarse-layer

• Requires specification of the number

of layers a priori
Uplayering: Stern and Dawson 1999

• Uses different optimization properties

(breakthrough time or flux)

• Method is not quantitative

Sum of Squares Criteria
• Group layers to minimize variation
of property within layers thus maximize
variation between layers
• Sum of squares within layers (residual)
Nx Nz

SSW = Σ Σ (pfik- pcik)2

i=1 k= 1

• Sum of squares between layers

Nx Nk

SSW = ΣΣ ( pck- mi )2
i=1 k= 1
Sum of Squares
SS Within Layer (SSW)
Determination of No. Of Optimal Layers
Determination of No. Of Optimal Layers
Case Validation
SSW vs. Layers
Root Mean-Square Error
Comparison: KH
Comparison: Inverse TOF
Comparison: Inverse TOF
Comparison: Inverse TOF
Comparison: Inverse TOF
Error from Layer Coarsening:
Flood Front Progression
Error in the velocity distribution is introduced while upscaling




Different fluid velocities are replaced by a single value

F ‘ (Sw* ) (Kx / Ø) is the frontal speed in each layer
– This is the property whose heterogeneity we will analyze
– Analysis applies to the net sands
Vertical equilibrium within each coarse cell
Layer Coarsening: Waterflood Example
Waterflood Field Example: Oil Recovery and Watercut
Optimal Simulation Model has 22 layers
– 7 layers and 22 uniform layers are each too coarse

22 Uniform Layers
Designer Grids within the Flow Simulator
Upscale During Initialization (Static)
Tight Gas Layer Coarsening Fine Scale Model
22x23x1715 (Geological Scenario 5)

•General trend shows that uniform coarsening does not perform well
• “Optimal” (293 layers) is the best layering scheme
• Flexible 3D grid (MCOARSE) provides even better results
Designer Grids within the Flow Simulator
Static Boundary Conditions
Design 3D simulation grid to prevent different sands from merging
Simulation Grid
•Structured Grids
– proven successful in the generation of stable reservoir simulation models
• Unstructured Grid
– complex reservoir and well geometry's models requires advanced gridding technology
• horizontal wells
• complicated fault patterns
Features that Govern the Design of a Simulation Grid

• Simulation grid resolution

• Simulation grids are normally designed to follow major direction
of fluid flow
• Simulation grids are normally aligned with the main geological
features such as reservoir boundaries and faults.
• The position of the wells is accounted for in the gridding
• Different simulation grid models may be required for different
model purposes
• The simulation grid geometry very often has to be adjusted if
the original model assumptions were incorrect
– The gridding process must be easily repeatable.
• Input data like geological model geometry and geological
properties are very often subject to change
– The simulation grid must be easily updateable
Corner Point Geometry Grid
A corner point fluid flow simulation grid consists of Nx and Ny
adjacent rectangular sided hexahedrons of varying dimensions
Rectangular Grid
A rectangular fluid flow simulation grid consists of Nx and Ny adjacent
rectangular-sided hexahedrons with the same row or column dimensions within
an X or Y row for a rectangular grid boundary only.
A perpendicular bisector (PEBI) fluid flow simulation grid consists of polyhedrons
of various shapes and sizes; the shapes and sizes of which adapt to match grid
features such as boundaries, faults, and wells.
Tetrahedral Grid
A tetrahedral fluid flow simulation grid consists of rectangular hexahedrons and
tetrahedrons of various sizes. Tetrahedrons are used to match the grid to
features such as boundaries, faults, and wells; otherwise, rectangular
hexahedrons are used for gridding
Impact of Upscaling Method on Effective Properties
16x16 1x1

Upscaling Method Effective Permeability • Upscaling is certainly better than simple

No Flow Boundary 32.8 sampling
Linear Boundary 36.8
Arithmetic Average 55 • Upscaling, on the other hand, is not
Geometric Average 31.6 “an exact science”, it will always depend
Harmonic Average 18.0 on the type of reservoir and on
engineering judgement
Upscaling Non-dimensional Real Properties

• Unknown properties, whose units are not that of permeability, are

assumed to be arrays of dimensionless real numbers.

• The coarse scale average in each coarse grid block is defined to be

the volume weighted average over the fine cells:
Upscaling Porosity

Porosity is averaged using the fine cell volume as a weighting

Simple Upscaling of Permeability

• In simple averaging methods, you do not justify the averaging

formula by reference to an approximate flow solution.
– In the case of arithmetic and harmonic averaging, weight the
permeability's with geometric factors. This amounts to taking
into consideration the crosssectional area and length of each
fine scale grid block. This is equivalent to sectional using the
volume and squared length.
– In the geometric and power averaging cases, we do not
include the geometric factors because they cancel out.

• Only the formula for upscaling the I-direction permeability is

presented. The other directions have the same form.
Simple Upscaling of Permeability

Arithmetic Average

Harmonic Average

Geometric Average

Power Average
Harmonic-Arithmetic Upscaling of Permeability

We first calculate the flux uI jk through each tube (j,k) separately

This gives:

The total flux through the grid block is then obtained by summing uIjk,
the flux through fine tube (j,k) over j and k.

We then calculate the effective, upscaled, permeability from:

Harmonic-Arithmetic Upscaling of Permeability

The harmonic
averages are first
calculated along 1D
stacks of cells in the
x,y,z directions

Followed by an arithmetic
means of the harmonic
Arithmetic - HarmonicUpscaling of Permeability
• Assume a pressure drop of δpi across the I-th slab. Noting that by incompressibility the
flux through each slab must be the same, the flux is given by the equation:

• Now summing the pressure drops over the slabs, we obtain:

where pO is the inlet pressure and pL is the outlet pressure

•Equating the pressure drop to the similar expression with constant KI the upscaled
permeability, we obtain the final expression
Arithmetic - HarmonicUpscaling of Permeability

The arithmetic means

are first calculated in
the selected x,y,z plane

Followed by a
harmonic average
of the arithmetic
Validation of Upscaled Geological Properties

Validation of Upscaled Permeability

An “accurately” upscaled simulation grid has

- Breakthrough time of displacement front
- Shape of displacement front
- Recovery