Development of an Advanced Simulator to Model Mobility Control and Geomechanics During CO2 Floods



The software is available for download as a 3.1 MB ZIP archive (UT-DOE-CO2.zip). The archive contains the Windows version of the UT-DOE-CO2 executable, documentation, and sample input files.


The goal of this project is to develop an advanced reservoir simulation and visualization tool for compositional flow and transport coupled with geomechanical deformation in porous media, with advanced mobility control methods such as foam, to better model and predict oil production during carbon dioxide (CO2) flooding and improve predictions of oil production from residual oil zones.

Project Start: February 1, 2011
Project End: September 30, 2013

DOE Contribution: $799,558
Performer Contribution: $199,884

Contact Information:
DOE-NETL - Sinisha (Jay) Jikich (sinisha.jikich@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4320)
The University of Texas at Austin - Mojdeh Delshad (delshad@mail.utexas.edu or 512-4711-3219).

Mojdeh Delshad, Mary F. Wheeler, Kamy Sepehrnoori, Gary A. Pope
The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78713-7726


Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) has exhibited strong growth in the past 30 years and has expanded despite extreme crude oil price fluctuations. However, there are several issues challenging the oil recovery, economic efficiency, and applicability of the process.

Predictive simulation may be the only means to develop optimal strategies in the absence of complete characterization of the reservoir geology. It is critical to develop robust, scalable, and mechanistic numerical modeling tools because of the multiple scales of the various interacting processes in the reservoir, the basin scale of the reservoir, the need for long time predictions, and the potential for significant coupling between geomechanics and flow.

This project will develop an advanced CO2-EOR simulator with visualization capability, coupled with an advanced phase behavior and foam mobility control module, coupled with geomechanical deformation in porous media, and an advanced grid for complex reservoirs. The project will also include support for the modeling of complex coupled processes of fluid flow and transport, geomechanical deformation, 3- phase flash, a mechanistic foam model, and a comprehensive relative permeability model that includes the effects of composition, interfacial tension, and hysteresis. The simulator will be used to accurately predict changes in the reservoir system during injection of viscous CO2 and aid in the design and optimization of new generation CO2 injection projects with permanent CO2 storage in mind. The research will result in a computational framework and modules with advanced numerical algorithms and underlying technology for research in CO2 applications, which will be validated against published results and benchmarked against other simulators. The project will support the education and training of an interdisciplinary work force.


Development of a new, computationally efficient, high-performance reservoir simulator with visualization capability for new generation CO2-EOR and CO2 storage will help maximize oil production after waterflooding and from residual oil zones. Success of this proposed project may help to build stakeholder confidence in the effectiveness of this advanced technology as well as result in optimal recovery strategies to produce a significant portion of the remaining domestic oil resources.


  • Made the simulator user-friendly and more compatible with the commercial simulators (i.e., Eclipse and CMG) by adding reservoir properties as separate input files.
  • A simplified population balance foam model was implemented.
  • A general three-phase relative permeability model with hysteresis was implemented.
  • Acquired field data from an oil company planning to conduct a CO2 pilot test.
  • A beta version of the visualization package is being developed using the Sciencesoft tool, S3graf3D.
  • A robust and efficient solver was identified for unstructured grid.
  • The simulator is an isothermal, three-dimensional, four phase, compositional, equation-of-state simulator capable of simulating various recovery processes.
  • An unstructured grid discretization was formulated, implemented, and tested against commercial simulators.
  • Several solvers have been identified for better computational efficiency and accuracy.
  • A new compositional dependent hysteretic relative permeability and capillary pressure model is developed and implemented.