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Abstract

The Micro to Macro (μ2M) Programme has been focused on developing understanding of subsurface fluid flows within geological heterogeneities spanning wide ranges of spatial and temporal scales. This paper highlights the opportunities for industries to incorporate recent observations and emerging theories in this field towards improved fluid resource management. The background to, and objectives of, the μ2M Programme are reviewed. Selected results from the projects in the programme are discussed and, where possible, compared with evidence from industrial field data. Some conclusions and recommendations for future practice in reservoir characterization are made. For example, there is currently very little recognition of modern theories that point to the likelihood of prevailing criticality in the mechanical state of the Earth's crust and its implication for coherent large-scale collective behaviour emerging from small-scale interactions. Also associated with criticality are long-range spatial correlations and the likelihood that flow properties change during the life of commercial developments: such changes, for example, to absolute permeability, should be looked for and analysed for spatial and temporal patterns. Allied with these features is the importance of coupled processes, principally geomechanics, fluid flow, heat flow and chemistry. Knowing that local faults and fractures play a strong role in fluid flow mechanisms in a potentially time-varying, rather than just a static, fashion, gives even more motivation for acquiring detailed information on micro- and macro-structure over a range of scales.

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