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The Victor Unit of the Ivishak Formation in the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield is characterized by high net-to-gross fluvial sandstones and conglomerates. The highest permeability is found within sets of cross-strata of open-framework conglomerate (OFC). These cross-strata are preserved within unit-bar deposits and assemblages of unit-bar deposits within compound (braid)-bar deposits, and may form thief zones limiting enhanced oil recovery. We incorporate recent research that has quantified important attributes of preserved sedimentary architecture into high-resolution models. Waterflooding experiments using these models demonstrate the control that such architecture has on oil production rate, water breakthrough time, and spatial and temporal distribution of residual oil saturation. We found that when the pressure gradient is orientated perpendicular to the palaeoflow direction, the total oil production and the water breakthrough time are larger, and the remaining oil saturation is smaller, than when it is orientated parallel to palaeoflow. The pressure difference between production and injection wells does not affect sweep efficiency, although the spatial distribution of oil remaining in the reservoir critically depends on this value. Oil sweep efficiency decreases slightly with increase in the proportion of OFC cross-strata. Whether or not clusters of connected OFC span the domain does not visibly affect sweep efficiency.


Downloadable article is the authors' preprint.



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