- Copyright © 2001 Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Physical fluid-flow models aid understanding of hydrocarbon movement through water-saturated sediments because they provide real data that do not rely on assumptions and are therefore useful to validate numerical reservoir simulations or to study processes for which the mathematical formulations are not well defined. Such models can have applications in geology for studying mechanisms of secondary oil migration (Thomas and Clouse, 1995), or in reservoir engineering to evaluate enhanced oil recovery methods such as steam injection (Frauenfeld et al., 1994) and carbon dioxide floods (Tüzünoglu and Bagci, 2000).
These models are usually two-dimensional to allow monitoring of the displacement patterns by visual observation. This restricts them to single layers and causes problems with edge effects. Three-dimensional models reduce such problems but the performance can then only be monitored via production data such as recovery rates and timing to water breakthrough. This means that crossflow between layers of contrasting properties cannot be evaluated and visualization of the fluid displacement patterns has not been possible. Attempts to monitor the fluid migration pathways in such models with acoustic pulse-transmission methods have failed to resolve the fluid distribution in 3-D or provide adequate quantitative data on changes in saturation.
Seismic physical modeling has previously employed only solid, nonporous materials to study mechanisms of wave propagation and to evaluate processing algorithms over models with known structure. By applying seismic physical modeling techniques to porous media, we can use the two-way reflection method to monitor fluid movements in 3-D using changes in reflection traveltimes and amplitudes.
In this article we present some preliminary results of simple fluidflow models and outline our goals and plans for future development of this new integrated, multidisciplinary analog modeling approach. This development provides a number of benefits.
The models can contain multiple layers with contrasting properties, and saturation changes can be …