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Prudhoe Bay Field, the largest non-heavy-oil field in North America, has produced about 11 billion of 25 billion barrels of oil-in-place since production began in 1977. Co-owners ExxonMobil, ConocoPhilfield simulation modellips, and BP made the decision to build a new full-field model to evaluate future development decisions in the field. Requirements for the full-field, 12-component reservoir simulation model included a model size limit of about one million active cells and an areal grid block resolution of 5 acres (467ft/142m X 467ft/142m) and 10 to 15 feet (3.0m to 4.6m) vertically. The model incorporates approximately 2600 wells (about 1000 of which are horizontal), 1800 faults, all productive reservoir zones and other important geological controls on fluid flow such as shales and conglomeratic thief zones. A team composed of BP’s Alaskan geological, geophysical, petrophysical, and reservoir engineering staff; geocellular modelers from the three partner companies; and a consultant reservoir simulation engineer was assembled to build the model. The inclusion of operating company geoscience and engineering staff contributed specific expertise in the geology and reservoir engineering of Prudhoe Bay Field. The inclusion of multiple geocellular modeling staff contributed “best practices” from each partner company and also allowed key parts of the model, such as the structural framework and properties model, to be built concurrently, thus saving substantial time. The inclusion of the consultant reservoir simulation engineer having extensive experience with previous Prudhoe Bay full-field models provided continuity with prior modeling efforts.

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