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SPE General Meeting

August 18th, 2016 General Section Meeting

A Practical Approach to History-Matching Premature Water Breakthrough in Waterflood Reservoir Simulation – Method and Case Studies in South Belridge Diatomite Waterflood

Speaker: Zhengming Yang PhD, PE, Senior Staff Reservoir Engineer at Aera Energy LLC

Date: Thursday, August 18th, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

Location: The Petroleum Club, 12th Floor, 5060 California Avenue, Bakersfield

Cost: With online payment or RSVP: $25 members, $30 non-members

Walk-ins: $30 members, $35 non-members

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Premature water breakthrough negatively affects waterfloods in low permeability, naturally fractured reservoirs such as the South Belridge Diatomite. Premature water breakthrough reduces the effectiveness of waterflooding by partially or entirely bypassing the reservoir matrix where most of the reservoir fluids are stored. Reservoir simulation is handicapped by the inability to accurately characterize the architecture of the natural and induced fractures that yield high conductivity flow paths between injectors and producers. Generally, reservoir simulation can only represent the effective fluid flow by ignoring the ineffective water production that bypasses the matrix.

Detailed production performance analysis yields a practical approach to assist reservoir simulation in history-matching the waterflood process under premature water breakthrough conditions. Basic reservoir and rock-fluid characterization parameters must be tuned by history-match of primary production or before water injection related effects dominate fluid flow under waterflooding. The Y-function waterflood analytical method is used to diagnose premature water breakthrough on a well-to-well basis for the timing and duration. Effective water injection and production volumes are recalculated in reservoir simulation and used to achieve a history-match that honors oil production, reservoir pressure level and injection/production volume balance. A field-scale case study is presented to demonstrate the application and procedure of the proposed approach. The long-term waterflood prediction with the history-match model has been validated by comparing with analytical method forecast as well as the up-to-date continuous waterflood field data (4.5 years after history match date in the last reservoir simulation project). The proposed practical approach makes reservoir simulation a meaningful predictive tool in waterflood reservoirs when premature water breakthrough is a significant issue.


Zhengming Yang, PhD, PE, is a senior staff reservoir engineer with Aera Energy LLC (a Shell and ExxonMobil joint Venture) in Bakersfield, California; works on integrated reservoir study and simulation projects as well as production performance diagnoses and forecasts based on field production data; has worked on integrated reservoir projects for heavy and conventional oils in US, Venezuela and China. He graduated with PhD degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California, an MSc degree in petroleum engineering from RIPED Graduate School in Beijing and a diploma in chemical engineering from Tianjin University in China.

Zhengming has published/presented more than 20 journal/conference papers. He is an active technical reviewer in his expertise area to the SPE journals. He served as a co-chair of the mature waterflood management session in 2010 SPE Western Regional conference in Anaheim CA. He is the recipient of 2016 Western North America regional award for reservoir description and dynamics.


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