Saudi Aramco Makes Strides in Reservoir Simulation

Accurate reservoir simulation is essential in the effective management of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas assets.

Every day at Petroleum Engineering & Development (PE&D), in order to optimize recovery from Saudi Arabia's gigantic reservoirs, engineers perform reservoir simulations that include complex calculations and analyses on massive super computers.

A team at the EXPEC Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) has developed a method capable of solving such complex equations from simulation models of virtually any size with optimal efficiency.

Larry S. Fung and Tareq M. Shaalan, scientists of the EXPEC ARC Computational Modeling Technology (CMT) Team, were granted U.S. Patent No. 7,596,480 for their "Solution method and apparatus for large-scale simulation of layered formations."

Their invention protects a vital simulator component, the linear solver, which involves many arithmetic operations and is at the core of Saudi Aramco's massive parallel reservoir simulator, GigaPOWERS™ (Parallel Oil, Water, and Gas Enhanced Reservoir Simulator).

"This unique solver method is the basis of GigaPOWERS' robust capabilities and scalability," said Fung. "The solver method is the heart of the simulator, and its architecture forms the basis for many advanced simulation features."

As the Kingdom's oil fields are among the largest in the world, a huge volume of fluids is produced and injected in daily operations. Detailed computer simulation models representing fluid flow dynamics need to be constructed to plan the most effective drilling and optimize facility requirements.

GigaPOWERS can solve complex fluid flow over seismic scale grids comprising over a billion cells.

Simulation engineers rely on these fine grids to assess detailed geology and conditions within a giant oil field.

Another important innovation is that both structured and unstructured grids can be used to better represent complex well geometries and other geologic complexities (e.g., fractures, faults, etc.) significantly reducing numerical errors.

"The fine resolution and accuracy afforded by GigaPOWERS provides Saudi Aramco reservoir engineers a clearer understanding of reservoir fluid activity to manage the fields and optimize production," said Samer S. AlAshgar, EXPEC ARC manager.