Volumetric faults in field-sized reservoir simulation models: A first case study

  • Muhammad Fachri
  • Jan Tveranger
  • Alvar Braathen
  • Per Røe


Conduit fault zones and fault zones that can accommodate long-distance along-fault flow are well-documented phenomena. In reservoir simulation models, flow within these features is more correctly captured using volumetric representations of fault zones instead of employing standard two-dimensional fault planes. The present study demonstrates a method for generating fault envelope grids on full-field reservoir models, within which fault cores (i.e., regions where most of fault zone displacement is accommodated) are modeled. The modeled fault core elements are lenses and slip zones. They are defined as facies units and populated in the fault envelope grids using combined object-based simulation and deterministic techniques. Using the facies property, four reservoir simulation models are generated by modulating fault core thickness and slip zone type and permeability. Membrane slip zones (slip zones that act as partial barriers to fluid flow) cause the fault cores to form baffle–conduit systems. Along-strike positioned injector–producer pairs focus flow into the fault cores, decreasing sweep efficiency. In contrast, injected fluids of injector–producer pairs positioned to drain perpendicular to the fault cores are partitioned and distributed by the fault cores and therefore increase overall sweep efficiency. In reservoir models with conduit slip zones (slip zones that enhance flow along them and act as partial barriers to flow across them), the fault cores act as thief zones. Fluids preferentially move through the fault cores toward the nearby producers instead of through sedimentary layers with high permeability. Sweep efficiency in the reservoir models with conduit fault cores has less dependency on injector–producer configuration. Our study suggests that the improved realism added by incorporating volumetrically expressed fault cores substantially influences forecasts of field behavior and consequently should be considered during oil and gas production planning.