A Comprehensive Reservoir Simulator for Unconventional Reservoirs That Is Based on the Fast Marching Method and Diffusive Time of Flight Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary Modeling of fluid flow in unconventional reservoirs requires accurate characterization of complex flow mechanisms because of the interactions between reservoir rock, microfractures, and hydraulic fractures. The pore-size distribution in shale and tight sand reservoirs typically ranges from nanometers to micrometers, resulting in ultralow permeabilities. In such extremely low-permeability reservoirs, desorption and diffusive processes play important roles in addition to heterogeneity-driven convective flows. For modeling shale and tight oil and gas reservoirs, we can compute the well-drainage volume efficiently with a fast marching method (FMM) and by introducing the concept of diffusive time of flight (DTOF). Our proposed simulation approach consists of two decoupled stepsdrainage-volume calculation and numerical simulation with DTOF as a spatial coordinate. We first calculate the reservoir drainage volume and the DTOF with the FMM, and then the numerical simulation is conducted along the 1D DTOF coordinate. The approach is analogous to streamline modeling whereby a multidimensional simulation is decoupled to a series of 1D simulations resulting in substantial savings in computation time for high-resolution simulation. However, instead of a convective time of flight (CTOF), a DTOF is introduced to model the pressure-front propagation. For modeling physical processes, we propose triple continua whereby the reservoir is divided into three different domains: microscale pores (hydraulic fractures and microfractures), nanoscale pores (nanoporous networks), and organic matter. The hydraulic fractures/microfractures primarily contribute to the well production, and are affected by rock compaction. The nanoporous networks contain adsorbed gas molecules, and gas flows into fractures by convection and Knudsen diffusion processes. The organic matter acts as the source of gas. Our simulation approach enables high-resolution flow characterization of unconventional reservoirs because of its efficiency and versatility. We demonstrate the power and utility of our approach with synthetic and field examples.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Fujita, Y., Datta-Gupta, A., & King, M. J.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Fujita, Yusuke||Datta-Gupta, Akhil||King, Michael J

publication date

  • December 2016