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Abstract

For the past five years, we have been studying the Page Sandstone outcrop in Northern Arizona as a prototype for eolian oil reservoirs and aquifers. The work has encompassed detailed geological studies and highly intensive descriptions of the distribution of hydraulic conductivity or permeability. We are now at the point of using this information to evaluate predictions about fluid flow through naturally-occurring sands. Work on this topic is the subject of this presentation.

The first step in the study was to establish a “truth case,” a standard against which to measure the success of alternative procedures for flow prediction. Our truth case consisted of a highly detailed (more than 11,000 finite element nodes) numerical simulation of a miscible displacement through a portion of the outcrop wherein each nodal property was assigned according to the actual value existing at that point. This intensely deterministic simulation also allows us to evaluate the extent of geologic detail necessary for a good prediction; mobility ratio and the distribution of average permeability are the most important quantities governing fluid flow. Permeability anisotropy, fourth order-bounding surfaces and dispersion are much less important.

With the truth case in hand, we redo the simulations based on the amount of data that would normally be available for subsurface conditions. In this case, of course, it is the generation of interwell properties which is being tested. The work investigates two basic procedures: pseudofunctions and conditional simulation. The pseudofunction approach generates effective relative permeabilities (a concept borrowed from immiscible flow) to

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