Multiple-Scale Stabilized Finite Elements for the Simulation of Tracer Injections and Waterflood

Ruben Juanes*, Tadeusz W. Patzek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We present a numerical method for the simulation of miscible and immiscible multiphase flow in porous media, with emphasis on the advection-dominated case. A fractional flow formulation is adopted, resulting in a "pressure" equation and a "saturation" equation. The key idea of the proposed methodology is a multiple scale decomposition of the variable of interest into resolved and unresolved scales. This acknowledges the presence of fine scales which cannot be captured by any grid, but whose influence on the coarse scales is not negligible. The multiscale approach leads to a stabilized finite element formulation, which prevents global spurious oscillations of the numerical solution without introducing excessive dissipation. The method is further improved by incorporating a novel shock-capturing technique based on a nonlinear dissipation mechanism proportional to the absolute value of the subscales. We believe this approach is entirely new in the context of flow in porous media. Numerical simulations of tracer injection (miscible flow) and waterflood (immiscible flow) are presented. The proposed subgrid scale method with shock-capturing shows exceptional performance in all test cases studied. These test cases illustrate the potential and applicability of the proposed formulation for solving multiphase compositional flows in porous media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes
EventSPE/DOE Thirteenth Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery - Tulsa, OK, United States
Duration: Apr 13 2002Apr 17 2002


OtherSPE/DOE Thirteenth Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTulsa, OK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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