Streamline Simulation of Water Injection in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs Conference Paper uri icon


  • © 2004, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc. Until recently1, 2 streamline simulators were limited to single-porosity systems and not suitable for modeling fluid flow and transport in naturally fractured reservoirs. Describing fluid transport in naturally fractured reservoirs entails additional challenge because of the complicated physics arising from matrix-fracture interactions. In this paper the streamline-based simulation is generalized to describe fluid transport in naturally fractured reservoirs through a dualmedia approach. The fractures and matrix are treated as separate continua that are connected through a transfer function, as in conventional finite difference simulators for modeling fractured systems. The transfer functions that describe fluid exchange between the fracture and matrix system can be implemented easily within the framework of the current single-porosity streamline models. In particular, the streamline time of flight concept is utilized to develop a general dual porosity dual permeability system of equations for water injection in naturally fractured reservoirs. We solve the saturations equations using an operator splitting approach that involves 'convection' along streamline followed 'matrix-fracture' exchange calculations on the grid. Our formulation reduces to the commonly used dual porosity model when the flow in the matrix is considered negligible.2 We have accounted for the matrix-fracture interactions using two different transfer functions: the conventional transfer function (CTF) and an empirical transfer function (ETF). The ETF allows for analytical solution of the saturation equation for dual porosity systems and is used to validate the numerical implementation. We also compare our results with a commercial finite-difference simulator for waterflooding in five spot and nine-spot patterns. For both dual porosity and dual permeability formulation, the streamline approach shows close agreement in terms of recovery histories and saturation profiles with a marked reduction in numerical dispersion and grid orientation effects. An examination of the scaling behavior of the computation time indicates that the streamline approach is likely to result in significant savings for large-scale field applications.

author list (cited authors)

  • Al-Huthali, A. H., & Datta-Gupta, A.

citation count

  • 14

publication date

  • April 2004


  • SPE  Publisher