Reservoir fracture “modeling” – ? art, science, art, fantasy, reality, science ?
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
If you take the development geologist and the reservoir engineer together to an outcrop like the fractured carbonate/shale/grainstone sequence shown below there’s hours of interesting discussion and quite a lot of fun to be had. At least at the outcrop you can see the complexity and heterogeneity whereas from a few boreholes and seismic imaging at reservoir level you will see perhaps 10% of it. That’s the source of both the challenge and the fun in building static fracture models in support of reservoir simulations - can it be done robustly, or is it some blend of science and art (imagination) ?
It’s a true-ism that “all models are wrong but some are less wrong than others”, presumably as in climate modelling. The geologist provides the parameters and concepts and works with the RE to build a reasonable representation of reality, only approaching some level of validation by matching with dynamic properties and flow behaviour. At the end of the day the proof is in the pudding, but making it and cooking it is often both stimulating and frustrating at the same time. We would say that outcrops like this provide illumination into what is Quite a Dark Art. See our Aramunt Case History article on the Download page for an example of using hard outcrop data to constrain a fracture porosity model.