Research Area: Improved recovery

Fracture of porous media in the presence of multiphase flow

Project Number:
Project Duration: 01.03.2019 - 28.02.2022

Scholar: Jhabriel Varela, University of Bergen

Project manager: Eirik Keilegavlen (Eirik.Keilegavlen@uib.no)


In this project, we are mainly interested in geological porous media which are subjected to forces (fluid or external mechanical forces), and consequently deform. Even though this is the natural response for most porous medium, in more extreme cases, fractures can initiate and utterly propagate. If this is the case, the cracking network offers a less resistive path to the fluid flow, which can lead to desirable or undesirable consequences depending on the type of application/problem. Examples of desirable consequences are hydraulic fracturing , enhanced oil recovery and geothermal reservoir engineering. On the other hand, adverse effects are presented in cases where we want to store/trap some type of fluid within a reservoir, i.e.: CO2 storage, or deep nuclear waste disposal.

Estimates showing zones of high errors near the fracture tips for the flow in a complex fracture network.Estimates showing zones of high errors near the fracture tips for the flow in a complex fracture network.

Given the importance of the aforementioned processes, it is necessary to have appropriate mathematical models and simulation tools to study them. Nevertheless, in the current state of the art there is a void to be filled with respect to suitable models that can describe these processes. Naturally, this is a non-trivial task, since the modeling process requires the inclusion of complex coupled physical phenomena such as; multiphase flow, mechanical effects and accurate fracture representation. It is therefore, our aim to fill this void by providing original contributions in the following fields: (i) Open-source software for simulation of multiphase flow in porous media, (ii) A posteriori error estimates for flow in fractured porous media, and (iii) Prediction of cracking paths in the presence of multiphase flow.

Research Production:

  • Keilegavlen, E., Berge, R., Fumagalli, A., Starnoni, M., Stefansson, I., Varela, J., & Berre, I. (2020). PorePy: an open-source software for simulation of multiphysics processes in fractured porous media.Computational Geosciences, 1-23.

  • A finite volume-based module for unsaturated poroelasticity. Varela, J., Keilegavlen, E., Norbotten, J., Gasda, S. (2020) Accepted for publication on Advanced modeling with MRST.

PhD: Jhabriel Varela

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E-mail: vista@dnva.no