Fluid flow through porous media using distinct element based numerical method
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Many analytical and numerical methods have been developed to describe and analyse fluid flow through the reservoir’s porous media. The medium considered by most of these models is continuum based homogeneous media. But if the formation is not homogenous or if there is some discontinuity in the formation, most of these models become very complex and their solutions lose their accuracy, especially when the shape or reservoir geometry and boundary conditions are complex. In this paper, distinct element method (DEM) is used to simulate fluid flow in porous media. The DEM method is independent of the initial and boundary conditions, as well as reservoir geometry and discontinuity. The DEM based model proposed in this study is appeared to be unique in nature with capability to be used for any reservoir with higher degrees of complexity associated with the shape and geometry of its porous media, conditions of fluid flow, as well as initial and boundary conditions. This model has first been developed by Itasca Consulting Company and is further improved in this paper. Since the release of the model by Itasca, it has not been validated for fluid flow application in porous media, especially in case of petroleum reservoir. In this paper, two scenarios of linear and radial fluid flow in a finite reservoir are considered. Analytical models for these two cases are developed to set a benchmark for the comparison of simulation data. It is demonstrated that the simulation results are in good agreement with analytical results. Another major improvement in the model is using the servo controlled walls instead of particles to introduce tectonic stresses on the formation to simulate more realistic situations. The proposed model is then used to analyse fluid flow and pressure behaviour for hydraulically induced fractured and naturally fractured reservoir to justify the potential application of the model.
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