Multiphysics and multiscale methods for modeling fluid flow through naturally fractured carbonate karst reservoirs

P. Popov*, G. Qin, L. Bi, Y. Efendiev, Z. Kang, J. Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Modeling and numerical simulations of Carbonate karst reservoirs is a challenging problem because of the presence of vugs and caves which are connected through fracture networks at multiple scales. In this paper, we propose a unified approach to this problem by using the Stokes-Brinkman equations which combine both Stokes and Darcy flows. These equations are capable of representing porous media (porous rock) as well as free-flow regions (fractures, vugs, and caves) in a single system of equations. The Stokes-Brinkman equations also generalize the traditional Darcy-Stokes coupling without sacrificing the modeling rigor. Thus, it allows us to use a single set of equations to represent multiphysics phenomena on multiple scales. The local Stokes-Brinkman equations are used to perform accurate scale-up. We present numerical results for permeable rock matrix populated with elliptical vugs and we consider upscaling to two different coarse-scale grids-5×5 and 10×10. Both constant and variable background permeability matrices are considered and the effect the vugs have on the overall permeability is evaluated. The Stokes-Brinkman equations are also used to study several vug/cave configurations which are typical of Tahe oilfield in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-231
Number of pages14
JournalSPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geology


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