Characterization and modeling of paleokarst reservoirs using multiple-point statistics on a non-gridded basis




Erzeybek Balan, Selin

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Paleokarst reservoirs consist of complex cave networks, which are formed by various mechanisms and associated collapsed cave facies. Traditionally, cave structures are defined using variogram-based methods in flow models and this description does not precisely represent the reservoir geology. Algorithms based on multiple-point statistics (MPS) are widely used in modeling complex geologic structures. Statistics required for these algorithms are inferred from gridded training images. However, structures like modern cave networks are represented by point data sets. Thus, it is not practical to apply rigid and gridded templates and training images for the simulation of such features. Therefore, a quantitative algorithm to characterize and model paleokarst reservoirs based on physical and geological attributes is needed.

In this study, a unique non-gridded MPS analysis and pattern simulation algorithms are developed to infer statistics from modern cave networks and simulate distribution of cave structures in paleokarst reservoirs. Non-gridded MPS technique is practical by eliminating use of grids and gridding procedure, which is challenging to apply on cave network due to its complex structure. Statistics are calculated using commonly available cave networks, which are only represented by central line coordinates sampled along the accessible cave passages. Once the statistics are calibrated, a cave network is simulated by using a pattern simulation algorithm in which the simulation is conditioned to sparse data in the form of locations with cave facies or coordinates of cave structures. To get an accurate model for the spatial extent of the cave facies, an algorithm is also developed to simulate cave zone thickness while simulating the network.

The proposed techniques are first implemented to represent connectivity statistics for synthetic data sets, which are used as point-set training images and are analogous to the data typically available for a cave network. Once the applicability of the algorithms is verified, non-gridded MPS analysis and pattern simulation are conducted for the Wind Cave located in South Dakota. The developed algorithms successfully characterize and model cave networks that can only be described by point sets. Subsequently, a cave network system is simulated for the Yates Field in West Texas which is a paleokarst reservoir. Well locations with cave facies and identified cave zone thickness values are used for conditioning the pattern simulation that utilizes the MP-histograms calibrated for Wind Cave. Then, the simulated cave network is implemented into flow simulation models to understand the effects of cave structures on fluid flow. Calibration of flow model against the primary production data is attempted to demonstrate that the pattern simulation algorithm yields detailed description of spatial distribution of cave facies. Moreover, impact of accurately representing network connectivity on flow responses is explored by a water injection case. Fluid flow responses are compared for models with cave networks that are constructed by non-gridded MPS and a traditional modeling workflow using sequential indicator simulation. Applications on the Yates Field show that the cave network and corresponding cave facies are successfully modeled by using the non-gridded MPS. Detailed description of cave facies in the reservoir yields accurate flow simulation results and better future predictions.



LCSH Subject Headings