Field-scale characterization of permeability and saturation distribution using partitioning tracer tests: The Ranger Field, Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary This paper discusses the application of an efficient streamline-based inversion method to a large multiwell multitracer Partitioning Interwell Tracer Test (PITT) in the McClesky sandstone, the Ranger field, Texas, to characterize both permeability and oil saturation distribution. During a typical PITT, a conservative and a partitioning tracer are injected into the reservoir. The partitioning tracer gets partially absorbed into the oil phase, leading to a separation in the tracer responses that can be used to infer oil saturation distribution in the tracer-swept area. Our approach is extremely efficient because it relies on analytic computation of the sensitivity of the tracer response to reservoir parameters such as permeability and saturation using a single streamline simulation. We follow a two-step procedure whereby we first match the conservative tracer response to determine the permeability distribution, and then match the partitioning tracer response to obtain oil saturation distribution in the reservoir. The entire history matching took less than 6 hours on a PC as opposed to several months typically required for a manual history matching. We compared our results to a manual history match obtained using a finite-difference simulator. Both the manual history matching and the streamline-based inversion identified similar large-scale trends in permeability and saturation distribution. However, well-specific matches were significantly improved over those obtained through the manual history matching. Our approach is much more efficient in terms of computation time and effort, and the results are less sensitive to personal bias compared to manual history matching. Finally, we discuss a procedure to assess the results in terms of resolution of the estimates of permeability and saturation distribution.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Illiassov, P. A., & Datta-Gupta, A.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Illiassov, PA||Datta-Gupta, A

publication date

  • December 2002