Coupling fluid flow and geomechanics – trends and recent developments

Clovis R. Maliska

SINMEC Computational Fluid Dynamics Lab - Brazil

Usually, the numerical simulation of fluid flow in petroleum reservoirs considers a time-invariant rock compressibility, which may change in space and time, taking into account the geomechanics of the reservoir. However, the fluid flow and geomechanics are closely related, since rock deformation changes the porosity and the permeability of the media, key parameters influencing the fluid flow.

Therefore, for having more detailed and precise analysis, it is mandatory the solution of the fluid flow and of the geomechanics coupling. Since historically finite-element methods are used for solving mechanical problems, it is normally used for the solution of the geomechanical problem, while finite-volumes is for the fluid flow. In general this involves different grids with some interpolation algorithm. This presentation reports the trends in solving this coupling, as well as advances a new formulation in which a finite volume method is used for solving both problems, using a single grid and locally conservative schemes for both physics.

Applications for petroleum reservoir simulation is also presented.


Clovis R. Maliska is a Mechanical Engineer with a M.Sc. from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, in addition to a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering by the University of Waterloo, Canada. He leads the Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and his main research activities involve the development of numerical techniques for the Navier-Stokes equations and Darcy’s equations using finite-volume techniques for unstructured grids. Sub and supersonic aerodynamics, multiphase flows, liquid metal flows are examples of applications using Navier-Stokes equations, where  significant effort is devoted to the development of tools for multiphase porous media flows. This is particularly emphasised in petroleum reservoir simulation, due to the reservoir/well coupling, in which the well completion with ICD devices is considered, and in the interaction between geomechanics and fluid flow, which encounters such application in several areas of engineering. Therefore, libraries have been created for addressing 2D and 3D unstructured grids, within a friendly environment for development of applications for porous media flows.