Connectivity represents one of the fundamental properties of a reservoir that directly affects recovery. If a portion of the reservoir is not connected to a well, it cannot be drained. Geobody or sandbody connectivity is defined as the percentage of the reservoir that is connected, and reservoir connectivity is defined as the percentage of the reservoir that is connected to wells.
Previous studies have mostly considered mathematical, physical and engineering aspects of connectivity. In the current study, the stratigraphy of connectivity is characterized using simple, 3D geostatistical models. Based on these modelling studies, stratigraphic connectivity is good, usually greater than 90%, if the net: gross ratio, or sand fraction, is greater than about 30%. At net: gross values less than 30%, there is a rapid diminishment of connectivity as a function of net: gross. This behaviour between net: gross and connectivity defines a characteristic ‘S-curve’, in which the connectivity is high for net: gross values above 30%, then diminishes rapidly and approaches 0.
Well configuration factors that can influence reservoir connectivity are well density, well orientation (vertical or horizontal; horizontal parallel to channels or perpendicular) and length of completion zones. Reservoir connectivity as a function of net: gross can be improved by several factors: presence of overbank sandy facies, deposition of channels in a channel belt, deposition of channels with high width/thickness ratios, and deposition of channels during variable floodplain aggradation rates. Connectivity can be reduced substantially in two-dimensional reservoirs, in map view or in cross-section, by volume support effects and by stratigraphic heterogeneities. It is well known that in two dimensions, the cascade zone for the ‘S-curve’ of net: gross plotted against connectivity occurs at about 60% net: gross. Generalizing this knowledge, any time that a reservoir can be regarded as ‘two-dimensional’, connectivity should follow the 2D ‘S-curve’. For channelized reservoirs in map view, this occurs with straight, parallel channels. This 2D effect can also occur in layered reservoirs, where thin channelized sheets are separated vertically by sealing mudstone horizons. Evidence of transitional 2D to 3D behaviour is presented in this study. As the gross rock volume of a reservoir is reduced (for example, by fault compartmentalization) relative to the size of the depositional element (for example, the channel body), there are fewer potential connecting pathways. Lack of support volume creates additional uncertainty in connectivity and may substantially reduce connectivity. Connectivity can also be reduced by continuous mudstone drapes along the base of channel surfaces, by mudstone beds that are continuous within channel deposits, or muddy inclined heterolithic stratification. Finally, connectivity can be reduced by ‘compensational’ stacking of channel deposits, in which channels avoid amalgamating with other channel deposits. Other factors have been studied to address impact on connectivity, including modelling program type, presence of shale-filled channels and nested hierarchical modelling.
Most of the stratigraphic factors that affect reservoir connectivity can be addressed by careful geological studies of available core, well log and seismic data. Remaining uncertainty can be addressed by constructing 3D geological models.