An exploration of the IGA method for efficient reservoir simulation
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Novel numerical methods present exciting opportunities to improve the efficiency of reservoir simulators. Because potentially significant gains to computational speed and accuracy may be obtained, it is worthwhile explore alternative computational algorithms for both general and case-by-case application to the discretization of the equations of porous media flow, fluid-structure interaction, and/or production. In the present work, the fairly new concept of isogeometric analysis (IGA) is evaluated for its suitability to reservoir simulation via direct comparison with the industry standard finite difference (FD) method and 1st order standard finite element method (SFEM). To this end, two main studies are carried out to observe IGA’s performance with regards to geometrical modeling and ability to capture steep saturation fronts. The first study explores IGA’s ability to model complex reservoir geometries, observing L2 error convergence rates under a variety of refinement schemes. The numerical experimental setup includes an 'S' shaped line sink of varying curvature from which water is produced in a 2D homogenous domain. The accompanying study simplifies the domain to 1D, but adds in multiphase physics that traditionally introduce difficulties associated with modeling of a moving saturation front. Results overall demonstrate promise for the IGA method to be a particularly effective tool in handling geometrically difficult features while also managing typically challenging numerical phenomena.