A numerical simulator is a computer program that implements a mathematical model describing the physical system. Our physical system of interest is the migration of CO2 into an aquifer or an oil field. For the computer to understand the model, we subdivide the domain into small computational blocks where equations representing the important physical processes are set up and solved. The simulation results is a prediction of the behavior of the physical system and is useful planning, guiding and optimizing CO2 storage and CO2-EOR operations. It answers questions like; how much CO2 can we inject, where will it flow and how will the pressure build up?
Investments in a CO2 storage complex or a CO2-EOR project is on the same magnitude as an oil and gas field development. Reservoir and field data is however typically limited due to the very different business case that exist especially for CO2 storage projects. This makes numerical simulations even more critical as basis for both development and investment decisions of a project. CO2 is a complex substance to simulate due to phase changes, ability to dissolve in both water and oil, and mix with gas. How to represent this interaction between CO2 and the reservoir fluids accurately and efficiently is still an active area of research and standard commercial simulators does not currently provide satisfying solutions.
Supported by CLIMIT, researchers at IRIS, Sintef and Statoil have therefore created a new simulator tailored for CO2 storage and CO2-EOR studies. The simulator is capable of modeling CO2 migration and CO2-EOR mechanism accurately and efficiently on selected fields. The ability to simulate industry relevant models makes it possible to use the simulator to assess the CO2 storage and EOR potential on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. An EOR perspective on the CO2 sequestration may provide the necessary economical initiative for driving CCS decisions. Preliminary studies shows great potential for combining CO2 storage and EOR. The simulator developed in this project is part of the Open Porous Media (OPM) initiative.
The aim of OPM is to provide an open platform facilitating code, knowledge and data sharing to enhance collaboration and to create open simulation tools with performance and capability to conduct field scale simulations on industrial relevant models. The open and modular structure of OPM makes it possible for researches also beyond the partners to tailor the simulator to relevant applications such as CO2 storage and CO2-EOR, and to test new and improved physical models directly on relevant field cases. By offering an infrastructure for simulator development, OPM helps accelerating the technology transfer from research to demonstration, a key for making CCS viable in the near future.
More information on OPM, and how to get access to the CO2-EOR simulator, is available on our webpage: opm-project.org.