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M. Gutierrez, SPE, Virginia Tech, and R.W. Lewis and I. Masters, SPE, U. of Wales, Swansea

Summary

This paper presents a discussion of the issues related to the interaction between rock deformation and multiphase fluid flow behavior

in hydrocarbon reservoirs. Pore-pressure and temperature changes

resulting from production and fluid injection can induce rock deformations, which should be accounted for in reservoir modeling.

Deformation can affect the permeability and pore compressibility of

the reservoir rock. In turn, the pore pressures will vary owing to

changes in the pore volume. This paper presents the formulation of

Biots equations for multiphase fluid flow in deformable porous

media. Based on this formulation, it is argued that rock deformation

and multiphase fluid flow are fully coupled processes that should be

accounted for simultaneously, and can only be decoupled for predefined simple loading conditions. In general, it is shown that reservoir simulators neglect or simplify important geomechanical

aspects that can impact reservoir productivity. This is attributed to

the fact that the only rock mechanical parameter involved in reservoir simulations is pore compressibility. This parameter is shown to

be insufficient in representing aspects of rock behavior such as

stress-path dependency and dilatancy, which require a full tensorial

constitutive relation. Furthermore, the pore-pressure changes

caused by the applied loads from nonpay rock and the influence of

nonpay rock on reservoir deformability cannot be accounted for

simply by adjusting the pore compressibility.

Introduction

In the last two decades, there has been a strong emphasis on the

importance of geomechanics in several petroleum engineering

activities such as drilling, borehole stability, hydraulic fracturing,

and production-induced compaction and subsidence. In these

areas, in-situ stresses and rock deformations, in addition to fluidflow behavior, are key parameters. The interaction between geomechanics and multiphase fluid flow is widely recognized in

hydraulic fracturing. For instance, Advani et al.1 and Settari et al.2

have shown the importance of fracture-induced in-situ stress

changes and deformations on reservoir behavior and how hydraulic

fracturing can be coupled with reservoir simulators. However, in

other applications, geomechanics, if not entirely neglected, is still

treated as a separate aspect from multiphase fluid flow. By treating

the two fields as separate issues, the tendency for each field is to

simplify and make approximate assumptions for the other field. This

is expected because of the complexity of treating geomechanics and

multiphase fluid flow as coupled processes.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in the importance of

geomechanics in reservoir simulation, particularly in the case of

heavy oil or bituminous sand reservoirs,3,4 water injection in fractured and heterogeneous reservoirs,5-7 and compacting and subsiding fields.8,9 Several approaches have been proposed to implement geomechanical effects into reservoir simulation. The

approaches differ on the elements of geomechanics that should be

implemented and the degree to which these elements are coupled

to multiphase fluid flow.

The objective of this paper is to illustrate the importance of geomechanics on multiphase flow behavior in hydrocarbon reservoirs.

An extension of Biots theory10 for 3D consolidation in porous

media to multiphase fluids, which was proposed by Lewis and

Copyright 2001 Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper (SPE 72095) was revised for publication from paper SPE 50636, first presented

at the 1998 SPE European Petroleum Conference, The Hague, 2022 October. Original

manuscript received for review 15 February 1999. Revised manuscript received 11 April

2001. Paper peer approved 16 April 2001.

164

involved in coupling fluid flow and rock deformation in reservoir

simulators. It will be shown that for reservoirs with relatively

deformable rock, fluid flow and reservoir deformation are fully

coupled processes, and that such coupled behaviors cannot be represented sufficiently by a pore-compressibility parameter alone, as is

done in reservoir simulators. The finite-element implementation of

the fully coupled equations and the application of the finite-element

models to an example problem are presented to illustrate the

importance of coupling rock deformation and fluid flow.

Multiphase Fluid Flow in Deformable

Porous Media

Fig. 1 illustrates the main parameters involved in the flow of multiphase fluids in deformable porous media and how these parameters

ideally interact. The main quantities required to predict fluid movement and productivity in a reservoir are the fluid pressures (and

temperatures, in case of nonisothermal problems). Fluid pressures

also partly carry the loads, which are transmitted by the surrounding

rock (particularly the overburden) to the reservoir. A change in fluid

pressure will change the effective stresses following Terzaghis12

effective stress principle and cause the reservoir rock to deform

(additional deformations are induced by temperature changes in

nonisothermal problems). These interactions suggest two types of

fluid flow and rock deformation coupling:

Stress-permeability coupling, where the changes in pore structure caused by rock deformation affect permeability and fluid flow.

Deformation-fluid pressure coupling, where the rock deformation affects fluid pressure and vice versa.

The nature of these couplings, specifically the second type, are

discussed in detail in the next section.

Stress-Permeability Coupling

This type of coupling is one where stress changes modify the pore

structure and the permeability of the reservoir rock. A common

approach is to assume that the permeability is dependent on

porosity, as in the Carman-Kozeny relation commonly used in basin

simulators. Because porosity is dependent on effective stresses, permeability is effectively stress-dependent. Another important effect,

in addition to the change in the magnitude of permeability, is on the

change in directionality of fluid flow. This is the case for rocks with

anisotropic permeabilities, where the full permeability tensor can be

modified by the deformation of the rock.

Examples of stress-dependent reservoir modeling are given by

Koutsabeloulis et al.6 and Gutierrez and Makurat.7 In both examples,

the main aim of the coupling is to account for the effects of in-situ

stress changes on fractured reservoir rock permeability, which in

turn affect the fluid pressures and the stress field. The motivation for

the model comes from the field studies done by Heffer et al.5 showing that there is a strong correlation between the orientation of the

principal in-situ stresses with the directionality of flow in fractured

reservoirs during water injection. There is also growing evidence

that the earths crust is generally in a metastable state, where most

faults and fractures are critically stressed and are on the verge of further slip.13 This situation will broaden the range of cases with strong

potential for coupling of fluid flow and deformation.

Deformation-Fluid Pressure Coupling:

Biots Theory for Multiphase Flow in

Deformable Porous Media

The coupled deformation and fluid-flow problem was first analyzed by Terzaghi12 in 1925 as a consolidation problem. Since then,

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Terzaghis 1D consolidation theory has been used widely in settlement problems in saturated soils. Biot10 extended the theory into a

more general 3D case, based on a linear stress-strain relation and a

single-phase fluid flow. Here, we present an extension of Biots

equations for two-phase immiscible and isothermal flow.

Equations for three-phase flow can be found in Lewis and

Sukirman.11 In the following, tensorial notation is used and summation is implied for repeated indices.

For two-phase fluid flow, the generalized Darcys law is given as

HH

kij kr

v i =

p + gh .

x j

Fluid Pressure

(Temperature)

In-Situ Stresses

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1)

Rock Deformation

Permeability

(a) Terzaghis effective stress principle,

HH

HH

ij = ij ij p ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2)

(b) the stress-strain constitutive relation, including the compressibility of the solid grains,

HH

HH

dp

; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (3)

dij = Dijkl dkl + kl

3K s

(c) the strain-displacement compatibility relation,

HH 1 u u

dij = i + j

2 xi x j

; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (4)

HH

ij

+ Fi = 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (5)

x j

Eqs. 2 through 5 constitute the geomechanical part of Biots

equation. The equations relate the applied internal and external

loads Fi from the static equilibrium condition (Eq. 5) and the pore

pressure p from the effective stress equation (Eq. 2) to the deformation of the rock (Eqs. 3 and 4). The final equation is for mass

balance, which is written as

1

1

vi =

S

xi B

t B

HH

ij Dijkl kl

So

+ o kl

B

3K s t

HH

So 1 ij Dijklkl

+ o

2

B K s

( 3K s )

p + q .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (6)

of the following contributions:

(a) the rate of change of fluid volume and saturation for each

phase p,

1

S ; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (7)

t B

HH

ij

v

;

= ij

t

t

fluid flow, and temperature in a deformable reservoir.

pressure change,

(1 ) p

; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (9)

K s t

and (d) the rate of solid-particle-volume change caused by the

change in mean effective stress,

HH

ij ij

3K s t

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (10)

including the grain compressive modulus Ks of the reservoir rock.

For reservoir rocks, poroelastic effects can be significant when the

matrix bulk modulus K has the same order of magnitude as Ks.

The initial formulation of Biots theory emphasizes mechanical

issues over fluid-flow issues. Because of this, the theory is less

compatible with conventional fluid-flow models in terms of the

parameters involved. A reformulation of the theory along the line

of conventional fluid-flow modeling can be found in Chen et al.14

Dual-porosity coupled models also have been proposed for fractured reservoirs by Chen and Teufel15 and Ghafouri.16 It should

also be noted that the theory is not restricted to elastic response of

the rocks and has been extended to thermoporoelastoplasticity.17,18

Reservoir Simulation

The main purpose of reservoir simulation is to model multiphase

fluid flow and heat transfer in porous media. The more advanced

reservoir simulators can handle multicomponent three-phase fluids

with complicated pressure/volume/temperature (PVT) relations

and relative permeabilities.

The equations governing the behavior of two immiscible fluids

flowing in a porous medium can be obtained by combining

Darcys law (Eq. 1) with the mass-balance equations for each flowing phase. In contrast to Eq. 6, the mass-balance law in reservoir

simulators is written simply as

xi

1

1

vi = S + q .

B

t

B

by the equations of state for various fluid properties.

= ( p ) ,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (12)

k r = k r ( S o , S w ) ,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (8)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (11)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (13)

Pc = po pw = pc ( So , S w ) ,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (14)

165

and So + S w = 1 .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (15)

S

B

1 1

1 S p

.

+

B

+

p B p S p t

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (16)

The first term on the right side of Eq. 16 is the change in the

volume factor Bp with pressure, giving the fluid compressibility of

phase p as

1

1

.

= cf =

p

p B

then the second term on the right side of Eq. 16 may be rewritten as

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (19)

cp =

1

.

p

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (20)

S

1 S p

= c f + S c p +

+ q .

B

S p t

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (21)

Hydraulic Diffusivity Equation

The hydraulic diffusivity equation from Biots theory is obtained

by introducing Darcys law (Eq. 1) into the mass-balance equation

(Eq. 6). For the sake of simplicity, single-phase flow under isothermal conditions will be considered.

H

HH

kH

ij Dijkl

ij p

+ gh = kl

3K s

x j

kl

t

HH

1 ij Dijklkl

+

+

2

Kf

Ks

( 3K s )

p + q ,

t

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (22)

where K f =1/cf is the bulk modulus of the fluid. This equation

should be compared to the single-phase version of the fluid diffusivity equation (Eq. 21) used in reservoir simulation,

166

. . . . . . . . . . . . . (24)

where K and G=the shear and bulk moduli, respectively, and are

related to the Youngs modulus E and Poissons ratio n as

K=

E

3 (1 2 )

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (25a)

E

.

2 (1 + )

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (25b)

Substituting Eq. 24 into Eq. 3 and the resulting equation into Eq. 2

yields the poroelastic

relates the total

stress-strain relation, which

stress increment dsij to the strain increment deij and pore-pressure

increment dp.

HH

HH

2

dij = K G dvij + 2Gdij dpij ,

3

. . . . . . . . . . . . . (26)

=1

hydraulic diffusivity equation,

HH

kij kr

p + gh

x j

xi

and G =

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (18)

1 1 p

=

= S c p ,

p p p

HH

2

Dijkl = K G ijkl + G ik jl + il jk ,

3

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (17)

the effective stress law (Eq. 2) is calculated from11

p = pw S w + po S o ,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (23)

where ct=cf +cp is the total compressibility. Again, for the sake of

simplicity, elastic stress-strain behavior

will be considered, in

which case the constitutive tensor Dijkl equals

p

1

1

S =

S

p

B

t B

t

=

HH

kij

p

p + gh = ct

+q,

x j

t

K

.

Ks

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (27)

diffusivity equation,18,19

H

H

kij p

1 p

+ gh = v +

+ q , . . . . . . . . . . . . (28)

t

M

xi x j

B t

1

=

+

.

MB

Ks

Kf

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (29)

the poroelastic stress-strain relation (Eq. 26) by the volumetric

strain increment den. Under specific conditions, these two equations can be decoupled and the problem reduced to that commonly

used in reservoir engineering. To do this, two assumptions must

be made to relate the volumetric strain den in Eq. 26 to the porepressure change dp:

The changes in the total stresses.

The loading condition (called stress path in geomechanics).

It should be noted that these assumptions are defined locally and

therefore applied to every point, as opposed to boundary conditions,

which are applied at the boundary of the domain of interest.

Consequently, the strain-displacement compatibility relation (Eq. 4)

and the equilibrium equation (Eq. 5) do not have to be invoked in

making these assumptions.

Hydrostatic Compaction. To decouple Eqs. 26 and 28 locally, one

assumption that can be made is that the reservoir rock is subjected

to a hydrostatic loading, with equal horizontal and vertical deformations under constant total

stresses. Applying the conditions

dex=dey = dez=den and dsij=0 in Eq. 26 yields

d z = Kdv dp = 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (30)

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

H

H

2

kij p

1 p

+ gh =

+

+ q . . . . . . . . . . . . . (31)

K M B t

xi x j

1 2

1

+

.

K MB

( ct )hydro =

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (32)

the pore compressibility was calculated assuming hydrostatic loading conditions. In the case of incompressible fluids, Kf and

cf =0; hence, cp=ct gives

(c )

p

hydro

1 2

+

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (33)

Ks

K

gives a=1, and the pore-compressibility parameter for hydrostatic

loading condition becomes

(c )

p hydro

1

.

K

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (34)

assumed in determining the pore-compressibility parameter is uniaxial strain compaction (also called Ko compaction in geomechanics), in which the pore pressure is varied with constant total stresses

and the horizontal displacements are blocked. Uniaxial strain

compaction is usually assumed to be a good approximation of the

20

conditions undergone by a reservoir

during depletion. Applying

the conditions dex=dey = 0 and dsij=0 in Eq. 26 yields

4

d z = K + G dv dp = 0 .

3

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (35)

H

H

2

kij p

1 p

+ gh =

+

+q .

M M B t

xi x j

. . . . . . . . . . . . (36)

( ct )oedo =

1 2

1

+

,

M MB

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (37)

E (1 )

4

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (38)

M =K+ G=

3

(1 2 )(1 + )

Again, neglecting fluid-compressibility and poroelastic effects

yields the pore-compressibility parameter for oedometric condition, which is

(c )

p oedo

1

.

M

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (39)

Consequences for Reservoir Simulation. The previous discussion has shown that the equations of poroelasticity can be reduced,

under specific local assumptions, to a hydraulic-diffusion-type

equation. Whereas the compressibility of a fluid can be considered

an intrinsic property under constant temperature, however, the pore

compressibility depends on the local conditions assumed. It was

shown that assuming local hydrostatic or oedometric conditions

gives two different values of pore compressibilities. The differences in the pore compressibilities for these two conditions can be

significant. It can be shown that the ratio of the two compressibility values is equal to

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

(c )

(c )

p hydro

p oedo

3 (1 )

1+

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (40)

elastic response of typical reservoir rocks), the hydrostatic pore

compressibility is twice the oedometric pore compressibility.

Obviously, depending on the loading condition, a wide range of

pore-compressibility values is possible even for idealized elastic

materials. The deformation of reservoir rocks is, however, nonlinear and elastoplastic. Consequently, an even wider range of pore

compressibilities can be expected for reservoir rocks than from

elastic behavior. Pore compressibility can be infinite for nonstrainhardening perfectly plastic rocks. In the extreme case, pore compressibility can be negative when shear loading causes the rock

volume to increase under constant or increasing pore pressure.

In practice, rock compressibility will have an impact when its

absolute value is comparable to or greater than that of the fluid. The

magnitude of pore compressibility in relation to fluid compressibility should provide an initial indication of the possible importance of

fluid flow and deformation coupling on pore-pressure distribution and productivity. The bulk modulus of many reservoir rocks

rarely exceeds 10 GPa. In comparison, the bulk modulus of water

is about 2.25 GPa at standard conditions. It is expected, therefore,

that reservoir rock pore compressibility will generally be greater

than, or at least of the same order of magnitude as, the compressibility of reservoir fluids in oil/water systems. However, for cases

involving pressure maintenance by gasflooding or in case of a

solution-gas drive, the gas can increase the total system compressibility considerably, making the effects of pore compressibility less important.

Two remarks can be made at this point. First, it should be noted

that pore compressibility as defined in reservoir engineering is measured under constant total stresses. Also, from the previous discussion, the measured value of the compressibility pertains only to a

specific stress path and cannot be used for other stress paths.

Boutca19 emphasized the need to measure the pore compressibility

under oedometric conditions, on the basis that most of the reservoir

deforms under oedometric conditions during depletion.

Second, the assumption of oedometric or uniaxial strain condition for every point in a reservoir is only valid, strictly speaking,

for a horizontally infinite reservoir under uniform pressure drawdown. Reservoirs are, however, bounded laterally and do not

deform uniformly even under uniform pressure drawdown. This is

illustrated by the results of a stress analysis of an axisymmetric

(disk-shaped) thin reservoir, whose radius is the approximately the

same as its depth, subjected to a uniform pore-pressure reduction

(Fig. 2). Because of the stiffness and bending of the overburden,

the reservoir deforms nonuniformly, as shown by the displacement

vectors. Close to the reservoir centerline, the displacement vectors

are vertical; hence, the rocks are under uniaxial strain conditions.

Near the flanks, the horizontal displacements are comparable to the

vertical components depicting hydrostatic loading of the rock. In

general, the displacement and stress fields in a reservoir will

depend on the reservoir geometry, boundary conditions, and porepressure distribution, and will be different from the idealized uniaxial strain condition. The presence of discontinuities (e.g., faults

and fractures) and material inhomogeneities (e.g., layering of the

reservoir) will also affect the stress distribution.

Petroleum Reservoir Simulation Coupling

Multiphase Flow and Deformation

Biots formulation constitutes a fully coupled system of equations

following the definition of Zienkiewicz.21 Based on this definition,

fluid flow (Eqs. 1 and 6) and geomechanics (Eqs. 2 through 5)

form a set of separate domains that cannot be analyzed separately.

Consequently, the dependent variables (e.g., fluid pressures and

rock displacements) cannot be explicitly eliminated except, as seen

previously, when assuming specific local conditions. By comparing the governing equations for reservoir simulation (Eq. 21) and

Biots theory (Eqs. 2 through 6 and 22), the following differences

may be observed:

167

6.5 km

Reservoir centerline

11 km

3 km

0.3 km

0.7 km

Hydrocarbon

reservoir

N

38.5 km

Fig. 2Rock displacements caused by a uniform pressure

drawdown in a disk-shaped reservoir.

from the geomechanical relations. This means, for instance, that

the calculated pore pressures may not be in equilibrium with the

overburden loads because the effective stress principle and the

equilibrium condition are not accounted for.

The only rock mechanical parameter involved in reservoir

simulation is the pore compressibility cp. This is a scalar quantity

and cannot sufficiently represent the behavior of rocks. Rock

stress-strain behavior is not only nonlinear but also stress-path

dependent and requires a full tensorial relation. As shown earlier,

even for linearly elastic and isotropic materials, different compressibility parameters are obtained depending on the loading path.

Gutierrez8 has analyzed numerically and theoretically the validity of the uncoupled approach. With a finite-element formulation,

the single-phase fluid flow diffusion equation was discretized as

. . . . . . . . . . . . (41)

where [Dp]=the matrix of pore-pressure change, [p]=the current pressure matrix, [C]=the compressibility matrix, [F]=the

permeability matrix, [Dq]=the matrix of fluid fluxes, and

Dt=the time increment. From this equation, the pore-pressure

changes can be solved as

p = C + t

) ( t p + q ) .

. . . . . . . . . . (42)

discretization is given as

K

F

L u

=

t

L t p t p + q

. . . . . . . (43)

[DF]=the matrix of boundary and self-weight loads. As shown, the

displacement increment matrix [Du] and the pore-pressure-change

matrix [Dp] can be solved simultaneously from this equation.

Solving the displacement field [Du] from the first equation of Eq.

43, substituting [Du] in the second, and solving for [Dp] gives

p = L K L + t

t p + q + L K F . . . . . . . . . (44)

t

Pore-pressure change is a function of the full-rock-stiffness

matrix [K] in the fully coupled formulation, while it is a function

only of the rock-compressibility matrix [C] in the uncoupled formulation. The former accounts for the full constitutive behavior of

168

23 km

4 km

the reservoir and nonpay rock system, while the latter is a diagonal

matrix that can only be made dependent on the pore pressure.

Pore-pressure change is also a function of the applied load

[L]t[K]-1[DF], caused by the total stress changes in the fully coupled analysis. Such total stress changes come from the weight of

the overburden, which is transferred nonuniformly to the reservoir

again, according to the pore-pressure distribution in the reservoir.

Application to a Field Case

The extended Biot equations for three-phase fluid flow in

deformable porous media were discretized by Lewis and

Sukirman,11 and the discretized equations were implemented in the

finite-element code CORES (COupled REservoir Simulator).

CORES is a 3D black-oil (three-phase compressible and immiscible fluid flow) simulator. The reservoir rock is modeled by elastic

and/or elastoplastic constitutive models, and the physical properties of the fluids depend on fluid pressures and saturations. In the

finite-element implementation, implicit procedures are used to

solve the fully coupled governing equations where the rock displacements and fluid pressures are the primary unknowns.

To illustrate the importance of analyzing fluid-flow and geomechanical behavior as fully coupled processes, CORES is

applied to the simulation of an idealized North Sea reservoir. The

reservoir has an area of about 6.5 by 11 km and a thickness of 300

m. The complete model, which includes the nonpay rock, has an

area of about 23 by 38.5 km and a thickness of 4 km (of which 3

km is the overburden, 0.3 km the reservoir, and 0.7 km the underburden). A simplified view of the whole model is shown in Fig.

3. A rough mesh with 8 by 20 by 14 eight-noded brick elements

was used in the simulation. However, the results of the 3D model

were also verified by a 2D model with a much finer discretization. No vertical displacements are allowed at the base of the

model, and no lateral displacements are allowed at the four sides

of the model. It is a common practice in geomechanical modeling

to extend the lateral boundaries as far away as computationally

possible from the main loaded region to simulate infinitely horizontal boundaries and minimize local boundary effects. The top

of the model, which corresponds to the seabed, is allowed to

deform freely.

The initial reservoir pressure is assumed to be 48 MPa, which is

uniformly distributed in the reservoir. The initial effective vertical

stress distribution vs. depth is integrated from the self-weights of

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

Overburden/Sideburden

Youngs modulus, E (GPa)

Poissons ratio,

Absolute permeability, k (md)

2.5

0.45

0

Underburden

Youngs modulus, E (GPa)

Poisson's ratio,

Absolute permeability, k (md)

13.5

0.45

0

Reservoir

Stiff

Soft

Poissons ratio,

Porosity,

Pore compressibility, cp* (/MPa)

Permeability, k (md)

0.85

0.25

35

0.0028

150

0.05

0.25

35

0.0476

150

* Used only for the uncoupled flow model and calculated from Eq. 39 with

the same E and used in the fully coupled models. For comparison,

cf =4.4104/MPa at initial reservoir conditions (used for both uncoupled

and fully coupled simulation).

the different rock layers, while the initial effective horizontal stresses

are assumed to be one-half of the total vertical stresses. Only the

water and oil phases are considered in the reservoir to simplify the

analysis. Undrained conditions (i.e., no fluid flow or zero permeability) are used for the surrounding nonpay rocks. Realistic relative

permeability and capillary pressure curves, and standard oil and

water formation volume factor curves, were used for the fluid-flow

part of the flow simulation. Elastic rock properties were used in the

geomechanical simulation. The rock properties used are given in

Table 1. The model is analyzed for a 14-year production scenario

by specifying production rates in the finite-element nodes corresponding to production wells within the reservoir. The production

rates applied in the production wells are based on recorded production data in the field.

The calculated pore-pressure distribution at the end of simulation in the top reservoir layer is shown in Fig. 4. After 14 years of

production, the reservoir pore pressure has been reduced to approximately 25 MPa in much of the reservoir. However, despite the

continuous production, the pore pressures have increased to

end of 14 years of production.

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

14 years of production.

is higher than the initial pressure of 48 MPa.

The predicted seabed subsidence and reservoir compaction

after 14 years of production are shown in Fig. 5. The maximum

calculated subsidence is about 6 m, which is approximately 85% of

the maximum reservoir compaction. An interesting result is the

expansion of the reservoir and the corresponding heave of the

seabed around the reservoir flanks. This result is an outcome of the

increased pore pressures shown in Fig. 4.

The increase in pore pressure close to the reservoir flanks is

also observed in the case of pressure-driven production. This can

be seen in Fig. 6, which shows the pressure distribution along a

north/south section of the reservoir caused by a pressure drawdown

in a single well at the center of the reservoir. In this figure, the bottomhole pressure history used in the simulation to drive the production is based on the measured bottomhole pressures in the field.

The prescribed bottomhole pressure decreased almost linearly with

time from 48 MPa at the start of production to about 24 MPa after

14 years of production. The results of two analyses are shown in

this figure: one for a soft reservoir with a Youngs modulus of

E=50 MPa, and another for a stiff reservoir with E=850 MPa

(n=0.25 for both cases). The Youngs modulus of 50 MPa for the

soft reservoir corresponds to the post-yield elastoplastic response

of the reservoir rock, while the value for the stiff reservoir corresponds to the elastic response of the reservoir rock.

For the case of the coupled simulation of the soft reservoir, the

pore pressures have increased to about 52 MPa (which is higher

than the initial reservoir pore pressure of 48 MPa) from a distance

of about 1.7 km from the central producing well, despite the continuous drawdown in the producing well. The pore-pressure distributions obtained from uncoupled reservoir simulations are also

shown in the same figure. In the uncoupled reservoir simulation,

the pore compressibilities used (see Table 1) correspond to a uniaxial strain loading condition and were calculated from Eq. 39 with

the same Youngs modulus and Poissons ratio used in the fully

coupled simulation. Again, this is based on the assumption that the

expected horizontal displacements in the reservoir will be negligible in comparison to the horizontal dimensions of the reservoir. As

such, these values are the best a priori estimates of the pore compressibilities for the uncoupled simulations.

As shown, the predicted pore pressures never exceeded the initial pore pressure of 48 MPa. For the case of the stiff reservoir, no

increase in pore pressure above the initial pressure is observed, as

in the case of the soft reservoir, for both the coupled and uncoupled

simulations. However, there are still significant differences in the

predicted pore-pressure distributions from the two simulations.

The differences in the predicted pore pressures shown in Fig. 6,

in the case of both soft and stiff reservoirs, are caused by the lack

of geomechanical terms and the deficiency of using rock compressibility to account for the geomechanical effects in the reservoir simulation. In the reservoir simulation, the rock deformation

was constrained and assumed to be a priori uniaxial. However, the

stress paths followed by the different points in the reservoir are

169

Reservoir pressure

50

Initial reservoir

pressure

40

30

Fully coupled modeling

Reservoir simulation

0

1000

2000

3000

Distance from production well, m

Initial reservoir

pressure

50

Reservoir pressure

Reservoir simulation

40

30

1000

2000

3000

Fig. 6Comparisons of reservoir pressures from fully coupled

and standard reservoir simulations. Pressure-controlled production. Top: soft reservoir; bottom: stiff reservoir.

controlled by the interaction between the reservoir and the surrounding nonpay rock, and by the constitutive behavior of both the

reservoir and the nonpay rocks.

The increase in pore pressure above initial value during production is an important effect that cannot be predicted by existing

reservoir simulators. This increase in pore pressure is caused by the

load-term load [L]t[K]-1[DF] from the total stress changes and the

interaction of reservoir and overburden in the fully coupled analysis. The pore-pressure reduction resulted in the compaction of the

central part of the reservoir. In turn, the compaction resulted in the

downward movement and bending of the overburden, causing the

reservoir fluids to be squeezed and the pore pressures to increase

toward the reservoir flanks. This coupled response, which comes

from the interaction between the reservoir and the overburden, is a

complicated process. The deformation of the overburden is

dependent on the pore-pressure distribution in the reservoir; on the

other hand, the pore-pressure distribution in the reservoir is also

controlled by deformation of the overburden. This structural indeterminacy in rock deformation is one of the main reasons why it is

not always easy to decouple rock deformation from fluid flow.22

The increase in pore pressure above initial value during fluid

extraction is analogous to the so-called Mandel-Cryer effect

observed in one of the first applications of Biots 3D consolidation

170

theory. Cryer23 showed that on withdrawal of fluid in a consolidating layer of a fluid-saturated medium, the pore pressure instantaneously jumped, then continued to increase for some time, before

pressure dissipation commenced. The pore-pressure increase is

attributed to the downward movement of the layer above the consolidating layer and the increase in total stresses as the weight of

the layer above the consolidating layer is transferred to the fluids,

causing the pore pressure to increase.

The increase in pore pressure owing to rock deformation has

also been referred to as compaction drive in reservoir engineering.

In standard reservoir simulation, the main mechanism accounting

for the compaction drive is the pore-volume reduction of the

reservoir rock. In fully coupled simulation, the downward movement of the overburden also contributes to the compaction drive.

This contribution, particularly when the pore pressures increase

above the initial reservoir pressure, cannot be accounted for simply by adjusting the pore compressibility in reservoir simulations.

The compaction drive will be very pronounced for soft reservoirs,

but it can also be significant for the case of relative stiff reservoirs,

as shown in Fig. 6. Note that this increase is only to be expected

for reservoirs with low-permeability aquifers. Otherwise, the

increase in reservoir pressure from compaction drive will be dissipated into the aquifer. On the other hand, a compressible aquifer

might also contribute to the increase in pore pressure from the

compaction drive.

Several schemes have been proposed in the literature to couple

the stress-strain behavior of rock and multiphase fluid flow.3,4

Settari and Mourits,24 for instance, present an approach where the

porosity is used as a coupling parameter between a finite-element

stress-analysis code and a reservoir simulator. The geomechanical

and reservoir simulators are used in a staggered manner. Porepressure changes are calculated from the reservoir simulation and

converted to nodal loads. From these nodal loads, the in-situ stress

changes and rock displacements are calculated in the geomechanical simulation. An iterative algorithm is used to ensure that the

porosities calculated from the geomechanical simulator are the

same as those calculated from the reservoir simulator.

The iterative approach, however, does not rigorously address

the coupling of geomechanics and reservoir simulations. One possible drawback of such an iterative approach is that there appears

to be no proof that the approach will converge to a unique solution.

For instance, it is not clear whether the approach can be used in the

case where the rock tends to increase in volume with a reduction in

pore pressure (e.g., owing to dilation during shearing). Such a volume increase would require a negative pore compressibility in the

reservoir simulation and may cause numerical instability.

Conclusions

The issues related to the interaction between fluid flow and rock

deformation in reservoir simulation have been discussed in this

paper. A primary type of interaction concerns stress- induced permeability changes, which in turn affect the fluid-pressure distribution. This type of coupling is particularly important in fractured

and faulted reservoirs, where fracture- and fault-permeability

changes can be orders of magnitude greater than those of the bulk

matrix. Moreover, fracture- and fault-permeability changes can

also influence fluid-flow directionality and sweep efficiency.

A comparison of the governing equations used for reservoir

simulations and Biots theory for multiphase fluid flow in

deformable porous media was made. Based on this comparison and

on the results of a simple case study, it was shown that geomechanics and multiphase fluid flow in hydrocarbon reservoirs

should be analyzed as fully coupled processes. As fully coupled

processes, fluid flow and geomechanics form a set of separate

domains that cannot be analyzed separately. The dependent variables in each domain (e.g., fluid pressures and rock displacements)

cannot be eliminated explicitly, except for simple cases corresponding to specific stress paths. However, in general, the deformation

of the reservoir during depletion and recovery is a complicated

process for which a simple stress path cannot be assumed.

It is shown that reservoir simulators, by not taking these coupling

phenomena into consideration, simplify important geomechanical

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

fact that reservoir simulation does not include the governing equations for geomechanics. Moreover, the only rock mechanical parameter involved in reservoir simulations is pore compressibility. This

parameter is not sufficient in representing aspects of rock behavior

such as stress-path dependency and dilatancy, which require a full

constitutive relation, and the influence of the surrounding nonpay

rock on reservoir deformability. Furthermore, the pore-pressure

changes caused by the applied loads from the nonpay rock cannot be

accounted for by simply adjusting the pore compressibility.

Nomenclature

Bp = volume factor for phase p

cf = fluid compressibility

cf p = fluid compressibility of phase p

cp = pore compressibility

(cp) hydro = pore compressibility under hydrostatic loading

(cp)oedo = pore compressibility under oedometric loading

ct = total compressibility

[C] = compressibility matrix

Dijkl = constitutive tensor

E = Youngs modulus

[DF] = matrix of incremental boundary or self-weight loads

Fi = boundary or self-weight loads

g = acceleration owing to gravity

G = shear modulus

h = fluid height

k = absolute permeability

k ij = permeability tensor

krp = relative permeability for phase p

K = bulk modulus

Kf = fluid modulus

Ks = grain compressive modulus

[K] = stiffness matrix

[L] = coupling matrix

M = constrained modulus

MB = Biots modulus

p = pore pressure

pp = fluid pressure for phase p

Pc = capillary pressure

[Dp] = incremental pore-pressure matrix

qp = fluid source or sink

[Dq] = matrix of incremental fluid sources or sinks

Sp = saturation for phase p

t = time

ui = rock displacement

[Du] = displacement increment matrix

npi = fluid velocity for phase p

xi = spatial coordinate

a = Biots coefficient (1-K/Ks)

dij = Kronecker delta function

eij = strain tensor

en = volumetric strain

[F] = permeability matrix

f = porosity

m = fluid viscosity

mp = viscosity for phase p

r = density

rp = density for phase p

s ij = total stress tensor

sij = effective stress tensor

n = Poissons ratio

Subscripts

i, j,k,l = spatial coordinates x,y, z

o = oil

w = water

June 2001 SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering

z = vertical axis

p = fluid phase (o,w)

Acknowledgment

The assistance of Dr. Hamid Ghafouri in carrying out the fully

coupled modeling of the idealized North Sea reservoir is gratefully acknowledged.

References

1. Advani, S.H. et al.: Fluid Flow and Structural Response Modeling

Associated with the Mechanics of Hydraulic Fracturing, SPEFE (June

1986) 309.

2. Settari, A., Ito, Y., and Jha, K.N.: Coupling of a Fracture Mechanics

Model and a Thermal Reservoir Simulator for Tar Sands, J. Cdn. Pet.

Tech. (November 1992) 31, No. 9, 20.

3. Fung, L.S.K., Buchanan, L., and Wan, R.G.: Coupled GeomechanicalThermal Simulation of Deforming Heavy-Oil Reservoirs, paper 361 presented at the 1992 CIM Annual Technical Conference, Calgary, June 1992.

4. Tortike, W.S. and Ali, S.M.: Reservoir Simulation Integrated with

Geomechanics, paper 391 presented at the 1992 CIM Annual

Technical Conference., Calgary, June 1992.

5. Heffer, K.J. et al.: The Influence of Natural Fractures, Faults and Earth

Stresses on Reservoir PerformanceAnalysis by Numerical

Modelling, Proc., 3rd Intl. Conference on North Sea Oil and Gas

Reservoirs, Trondheim, Norway (December 1992) 201.

6. Koutsabeloulis, N.C., Heffer, K.J., and Wong, S.: Numerical

Geomechanics in Reservoir Engineering, Proc., Intl. Conference on

Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (1994) 2097.

7. Gutierrez, M. and Makurat, A.: Coupled HTM Modelling of Cold

Water Injection in Fractured Hydrocarbon Reservoirs, Intl. J. Rock

Mech. Min. Sci. (1997) 34, 429.

8. Gutierrez, M.: Fully Coupled Analysis of Reservoir Compaction and

Subsidence, paper SPE 28900 presented at the 1994 SPE European

Petroleum Conference, London, 2527 October.

9. Lewis, R.W. and Sukirman, Y.: Finite Element Modelling for

Simulating the Surface Subsidence Above a Compacting Hydrocarbon

Reservoir, Intl. J. Num. Analy. Meth. Geomech. (1993) 18, No. 9, 618.

10. Biot, M.A: General Theory of Three-Dimensional Consolidation, J.

Appl. Phys. (1941) 12, 155.

11. Lewis, R.W. and Sukirman, Y.: Finite Element Modelling of ThreePhase Flow in Deforming Saturated Oil Reservoirs, Intl. J. Num.

Analy. Meth. Geomech. (1993) 17, No. 8, 577.

12. Terzaghi, K.: Erdbaumechanik auf Bodenphysikalicher Grundlage,

Franz Deutike, Vienna (1925).

13. Sornette, D., Davy, P., and Sornette, A.: Structuration of the

Lithosphere in Plate Tectonics as a Self-Organized Critical

Phenomenon, J. Geophys. Res. (1990) 95, No. 11, 353.

14. Chen, H.-Y., Teufel, L.W., and Lee, R.L.: Coupled Fluid Flow and

Geomechanics in Reservoir StudyI. Theory and Governing

Equations, paper SPE 30752 presented at the 1995 SPE Annual

Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 2225 October.

15. Chen, H.-Y. and Teufel, L.W.: Coupling Fluid-Flow and Geomechanics

in Dual-Porosity Modeling of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs, paper

SPE 38884 presented at the 1997 SPE Annual Technical Conference and

Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas, 58 October.

16. Ghafouri, H.R.: Finite element modelling of multi-phase flow through

deformable fractured porous media, PhD thesis, U. of Wales, Swansea,

Wales (1996).

17. Coussy, O.: A General Theory of Thermoporo-elastoplasticity.

Transport in Porous Media (1989) 4, 281293.

18. Charlez, Ph.: Rock Mechanics, Vol. 2 Petroleum Applications, Technip

Ed., Paris (1997).

19. Boutca, M.: Elements of Poro-elasticity for Reservoir Engineering,

Revue de lInstitut Franais du Ptrole, (1992) 47, No. 4, 479.

20. Morita, N. et al.: A Quick Method To Determine Subsidence,

Reservoir Compaction, and In-Situ Stress Induced by Reservoir

Depletion, JPT (January 1989) 71.

21. Zienkiewicz, O.C.: Coupled Problems and Their Numerical Solutions,

Numerical Methods in Coupled Systems, Wiley, New York City (1984) 35.

22. Lewis, R.W., Schrefler, B.A., and Simoni, L.: Coupling vs.

Uncoupling in Soil Consolidation, Intl. J. Num. and Anal. Meth.

Geomech. (1991) 15, No. 8, 533.

171

Theories of Biot and Terzaghi, Q.J. Mech. Appl. Math. (1963) 16, 401.

24. Settari, A. and Mourits, F.M.: Coupling of Geomechanics and

Reservoir Simulation Models, Proc., Intl. Conference on Computer

Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, Morgantown, West Virginia

(1994) 2151.

SI Metric

bar

ft

mile

Conversion Factors

1.0*

E + 05 = Pa

3.048*

E - 01 = m

1.609 344*

E + 00 = km

172

SPEREE

Environmental Engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Inst.

and State U. in Blacksburg, Virginia. e-mail: magutier@

vt.edu. He was formerly a senior engineer responsible for

reservoir mechanics at the Norwegian Geotechnical Inst. in

Oslo. Gutierrez holds a PhD degree in civil engineering from

the U. of Tokyo. R.W. Lewis is Professor and Head of

Mechanical Engineering at the U. of Wales, Swansea, U.K.

An editor of three international journals on numerical modeling, he has cowritten a book on the finite-element

method in the deformation and consolidation of porous

media and has written or collaborated on more than 250

papers. Lewis holds PhD and DSc degrees from the U. of Wales.

I. Masters is Lecturer in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at

the U. of Wales, Swansea. He holds a PhD degree from the U.

of Wales.

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