Thermal & Advanced
Processes Simulator

Applications Of Dynamic Gridding To Thermal Simulations

This paper describes a new technique to decrease the computational times of thermal simulations. Effectively, thermal processes are based on the displacement of a thermal front (combustion front, steam chamber interface), around which most fluid flows will take place. Thus, we propose a dynamic gridding approach, to keep a fine scale representation around the thermal front, and a coarser grid away from the front, thus leading to cheaper computations.

We will first describe the principles of this dynamic gridding. Simulations will start with an original fine grid, but will reamalgamate its cells, while keeping some regions (for example around wells) always finely gridded. The gridding will then identify the moving front through large gradients of specific properties (temperatures, fluid saturations and compositions). In the front vicinity, it will de-amalgamate the originally amalgamated cells, and later on re-amalgamate them once the front has passed. Amalgamated cells are assigned up-scaled properties, this upscaling being based upon classical averaging techniques.

We will illustrate this dynamic gridding technique with simulation examples, as it has been successfully implemented in a thermal simulator, STARS, a product of Computer Modelling Group Ltd (CMG). Using examples on combustion and SAGD simulations, we will show that it can divide the CPU time of thermal simulations by a factor of 2 to 3, without loss of accuracy.


© Copyright 2004. Society of Petroleum Engineers
Presented at the SPE International Thermal Operations & Heavy Oil Symposium & Western Regional Meeting, 16-18 March 2004, Bakersfield, CA, USA

SPE Paper #: 
Thermal Recovery