Beyond dual-porosity modeling for the simulation of complex flow mechanisms in shale reservoirs

Bicheng Yan, Yuhe Wang, John E. Killough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

45 Scopus citations


The state of the art of modeling fluid flow in shale reservoirs is dominated by dual porosity models which divide the reservoirs into matrix blocks that significantly contribute to fluid storage and fracture networks which principally control flow capacity. However, recent extensive microscopic studies reveal that there exist massive micro- and nano- pore systems in shale matrices. Because of this, the actual flow mechanisms in shale reservoirs are considerably more complex than can be simulated by the conventional dual porosity models and Darcy's Law. Therefore, a model capturing multiple pore scales and flow can provide a better understanding of complex flow mechanisms occurring in these reservoirs. Through the use of a unique simulator this paper presents a micro-scale multiple-porosity model for fluid flow in shale reservoirs by capturing the dynamics occurring in three separate porosity systems: organic matter (mainly kerogen), inorganic matter, natural fractures. Inorganic and organic portions of shale matrix are treated as sub-blocks with different attributes, such as wettability and pore structures. In the organic matter or kerogen, gas desorption and diffusion are the dominant physics. Since the flow regimes are sensitive to pore size, the effects of nanopores and vugs in kerogen are incorporated into the simulator. The separate inorganic sub-blocks mainly contribute to the ability to better model dynamic water behavior. The multiple porosity model is built upon a unique tool for simulating general multiple porosity systems in which several porosity systems may be tied to each other through arbitrary transfer functions and connectivities. This new model allows us to better understand complex flow mechanisms and in turn is extended into the reservoir scale considering hydraulic fractures through upscaling techniques. Sensitivity studies on the contributions of the different flow mechanisms and kerogen properties give some insight as to their importance. Results also include a comparison of the conventional dual porosity treatment and show that significant differences in fluid distributions and dynamics are obtained with the improved multiple porosity simulation. Finally a case for reservoir-scale model covering organic matter, inorganic matter, natural fractures and hydraulic fractures is presented and will allow operators to better predict ultimate recovery from shale reservoirs. Copyright 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium 2013
PublisherSociety of Petroleum
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781627480246
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-20


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