The challenges and impact of compartmentalization in reservoir appraisal and development

R. J. Fox, M. B.J. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


As an industry we have been poor at identifying and predicting the effect of reservoir compartmentalization on fluid flow throughout field life. In the context of harder-to-find reserves and rising development costs it is vital to have a well-rounded strategy in place to identify and mitigate uncertainties and risks associated with compartmentalization. The key challenge of today is therefore to improve predictive capability. Historically we have relied too heavily on 'single complex' linear modelling approaches to understand the impact of compartmentalization. Lately, we have begun to place a greater emphasis on using a forensic level of reservoir analysis coupled with the use of dynamic signals from production data and constant down hole monitoring of fluid-type, pressures and temperatures. Evidence is mounting that as fields deplete they evolve mechanically over production time-scales leading to changes in fault behaviour, stress configuration, compaction and hence compartmentalization; such factors are commonly not predicted at start-up. Our challenge has been to develop toolkits and workflows which integrate an appropriate range of geological models iteratively coupled with dynamic data. We need to develop analytical approaches that enable real-time updates from the evolving reservoir & fluid system to iteratively modify our models and improve their predictive power. This will allow us to make better-informed decisions at every stage of field life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-23
Number of pages15
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology

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