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INTRODUCTION TO RESERVOIR PERFORMANCE PREDICTIONS

BY SIMULATION APPROACH
Prof. T. Kumar
Dept. of Petroleum Engg.
IIT(ISM) Dhanbad 826004
1. Introduction
A reservoir study concerns the factors governing the behaviour of a
petroleum reservoir, the end result of which is a recommended
operating program which will yield the maximum net income from the
property.
Complete reservoir studies usually require months, or even
years to complete, depending on the complexity of the reservoir and
the thoroughness of the study. It should be emphasized that a
thorough reservoir study cannot be completed in a few days or a few
weeks.
So-called "thumb-nail" reservoir studies, requiring only a few
days or a few weeks to complete, are often made, but these studies
are of value only to indicate trends in reservoir behaviour, or to
determine the need for a full-scale study.
2. Parts of reservoir study
Stated broadly, a reservoir study is comprised of three basic parts:
(1) Matching past behaviour,
(2) Predicting future behaviour under various possible operating
programs (various fluid withdrawal rates, water injection, gas
injection), and
(3) Recommending the best overall operating plan for the reservoir.
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3. History matching
The first step in any reservoir study after the data have been
assembled is the matching of past behaviour. Referring to Figure 1,
the solid lines represent the actual pressure-production and gas-oil
ratio history of the reservoir.

If a reliable reservoir study is to be made the amount of past


production from the reservoir must be substantial. The exact amount
of past history which has to be accumulated before a reservoir study
can be considered reliable is difficult to establish due to the many
variable factors involved.
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However, a rule of thumb which many practicing reservoir
engineers use is that it is safe to predict ahead the same number of
years for which past production history is available. In other words, if
a reservoir has been producing for 10 years then it should be safe to
predict ahead for 10 additional years. As more and more data are
accumulated the accuracy of reservoir predictions will normally
increase.
4. Predicting future performance
Starting at a time when N, = 0, and using the data which have been
accumulated, a series of reservoir performance predictions are made.
No attention at all is paid to the actual reservoir history. The reservoir
performance predictions are made to cover the time from original
production to the current data.
These data, the "predicted" performance over the past producing
history of the reservoir are then plotted on Figure 1, which also shows
the actual production history. A typical plot is shown by the dashed
lines in Figure 1. In the illustration, the calculated reservoir
performance does not match the actual reservoir performance. This is
often the result of the first attempt.
It can be seen from Figure 1 that if future predictions of reservoir
behaviour had begun immediately, in all probability the predicted
future behaviour would not have matched the actual future behaviour.
If the predicted past behaviour does not match the actual past
behaviour, there is no basis for believing that the predicted future
behaviour will match the future actual behaviour.

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5. Reasons for mismatch of predicted and actual behaviour of
the reservoir
It is now necessary to determine why the predicted and actual past
production histories do not match. There are two possible sources of
error: (1) either incorrect equations, or (2) incorrect data, are being
used. In most cases, proper care has been taken in selecting the
equations, and it must be assumed that these equations are correct.
Occasionally equations used for predicting behaviour of water
drive reservoirs may need some change. The only remaining area of
potential misinformation lies in the numbers used in the equations.
The data which are used in the equations may be subdivided into four
parts: (1) reservoir pressure data, (2) reservoir fluid data obtained
from either subsurface or recombined samples (3) oil, water, and gas
production data, and (4) gross reservoir data, such as size of original
oil zone, gas cap size, and water influx.
If the equations used to predict the past behaviour are correct,
then if an incorrect answer is obtained it is obvious that incorrect data
have been used in the equations.
Therefore, the next step in the reservoir study is a re-evaluation
of all the reservoir data in order to correct the discrepancies. This may
be a tedious, time- consuming job, but nevertheless it is necessary if
a sound reservoir study is to be made.
A close appraisal of all the reservoir data may indicate possible
errors in some of the data, in which case a tentative correction in the
data is made and past reservoir performance is again "predicted." If

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this correction fails to yield a perfect match between predicted past
behaviour, then further study of the data must be made.
In cases where a study of all reservoir data fails to yield a
potential source of error, it may be simpler to examine the calculated
results to determine what factors in the equations would have to be
changed in order to yield the desired match.
For example, it might be determined that a small change in
original reservoir pressure would result in a match between predicted
and actual behaviour. Then the original reservoir pressure
measurement could be critically examined to determine whether or
not there would be any justification for the change.
Likewise, it might be determined that a small change in the
reported gas production would yield the desired match, in which case
the gas production data could be examined very closely to locate
possible errors in gas measurement.

6. Relook at the source data for any possible input error


Before finally changing any basic data to provide a match between
predicted and actual past behaviour there should be some justification
for the change. Arbitrarily changing original reservoir pressure just
because this would achieve the desired match is not good practice.
This may temporarily solve the problem, but if the real problem is the
omission of some of the gas production, then in future prediction work
this may result in a compounding of errors.

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7. Importance of matching past performance with future
prediction
A reservoir study is of value only if the future performance of the
reservoir can be accurately predicted. Matching predicted past
performance with actual past performance is a major step in the
attainment of this goal.

8. Optimization of operating parameters for maximizing net


income

The heart of a reservoir study lies in the information derived in


predicting future behaviour of the reservoir. The object of the reservoir
study is to determine the operating methods which will yield the
greatest net income for the property.
Therefore, it will usually be necessary to study the effects of: (1)
different reservoir withdrawal rates, (2) varying amounts of gas
injection, (3) varying amounts of water injection, and (4) other fluid
injection or secondary recovery methods.
All or part of these various parameters may be studied for
anyone reservoir. It becomes immediately obvious that the number of
calculations becomes enormous if several combinations of varying
factors are studied.
For example, consider the number of complete calculations
required if the effects of three different rates of oil production, three
different rates of gas production, and three different rates of water
production are studied.

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There are 27 different combinations of withdrawal rates. If to this,
three different amounts of gas injection are added, this results in 81
sets of complete calculations, which would require several man-
months of time if a standard desk calculator were used.
Fortunately, computer facilities are available which reduce the
calculation time to a matter of minutes, rather than months. Most
routine methods of reservoir studies have been programmed, and
therefore little preliminary work is required for solution of the problem
on computers.
The application of the computer to reservoir engineering studies
has eliminated the laboratories and unrewarding aspects of reservoir
studies and permits the engineer to more effectively utilize his time in
the development of good data, and in the interpretation of the results.
It should be emphasized that, even with the aid of computer facilities,
a thorough reservoir study still requires months for completion.

9. Method of presentation of predicted performance


The results of the predicted future behaviour under various
operating plans is usually shown in graphical form. The dashed lines
to the right of the vertical line in Figure 1 show typical results for
three different gas injection rates with one set of fluid withdrawal
rates.
Because of the uncertain future actions of the various
regulatory agencies in controlling reservoir fluid withdrawal rates, it
is usually desirable to determine the effect of at least three different
withdrawal rates for oil.
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It may be necessary due to other uncertainties to also consider
the effects of three different gas producing rates for each oil
producing rate, and three water producing rates for each of these
production rates.

10. Selection of the best method of operation

After the effects of various operating methods on ultimate oil


recovery have been predicted, it is necessary to select the best
overall method of operation for recommendation to management.
The method to be recommended will normally be the one which
will yield the greatest ultimate net income, as there often will be
factors present which will render uneconomic the recovery of a
maximum amount of oil.
For example, the return of 95% of the produced gas to the
reservoir might result in the recovery of more oil than if only 50% of
the produced gas were returned, but if the cost of additional gas and
compressor facilities was more than the value of the additional oil
recovered, there would be no incentive to construct the additional
facilities.