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Next generation multiscale methods for reservoir simulation

This project strives to broaden the scope of multiscale technology by delivering substantial acceleration to conventional reservoir engineering workflows. By doing so, it not only facilitates a considerable speedup in traditional processes but also opens avenues for the integration of reservoir simulation into new workflows in which one currently must resort to proxy models or empirical correlations.

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Illustration of multiscale methods
State-of-the-art multiscale method developed by SINTEF. Upper left: construction of basis function for the MsRSB method. Upper right: verification that MsRSB computes correct solutions for a fractured medium test case. Lower left: coarse partition of a field model. Lower right: pressure computed for a field model.


Multiscale technology has been researched since around the turn of the century. Many academic studies have indicated that the methods have the potential to provide fast computation of approximate, but representative flow solutions that can be used to verify parameter and model choices early in the reservoir charact erization process. However, this is yet to be demonstrated in a full industry-relevant setting.

To mature multiscale simulation to an industrial reality, the project will address the following research challenges:

  1. Develop multiscale methods that are flexible with respect to the size and shape of coarse and fine grid blocks. Develop suitably prescribed boundary conditions on interfaces of irregularly-shaped coarse blocks, coarse-grid operators that produce high quality coarse-scale solutions, as well as fast converging iterative schemes for coupled pressure and transport.
  2. Construct algorithms for automatic coarsen ing of complex models that adapt to important features such as wells, short-range and long-range geological heterogeneity, and faults.
  3. Investigate concurrency of multiscale methods and develop prototype implementations that fully utilize multi-core an d many-core hardware to scale well on current and future hardware architectures.
  4. Provide proof-of-concept prototypes of workflows that utilize variable-fidelity multiscale simulation to improve reservoir characterization, uncertainty quantification, a nd production optimization.

Project results

SINTEF had proviously proposed the so-called multiscale restriction-smoothed basis (MsRSB)  method that seemed promising to overcome fundamental problems with multiscale methods that prevented their industrialization. In the project, we proved that MsRSB can overcome these fundamental problems and be implemented in a commercial setting.

The method is still state-of-the art, has been proven in an operational environment by SLB, and is today the main engine of their INTERSECT multiscale sequential fully implicit simulator, offering enhanced simulation performance on heterogeneous, high-resolution geomodels, e.g., for use in geo-screening.

Work conducted in this and proceeding projects was quoted when Møyner received the SIAM Geosciences Early Career award in 2019 and Lie was elected SIAM Fellow in 2020

Key Factors

Project duration

2013 - 2017

Project type

Innovation project


The Research Council of Norway, grant no. 226035


Schlumberger Information Solutions (Schlumberger INTERSECT R&P Team)

Educational partner


Articles describing work by SINTEF

  • Lie et al. Successful application of multiscale methods in a real reservoir simulator environment. Computational Geosciences., Vol. 21, Issue 5-6, pp. 981-998, 2017. DOI: 10.1007/s10596-017-9627-2
  • Lie and Møyner: Multiscale pressure solvers for stratigraphic and polytopal grids. From "Advanced Modeling with the MATLAB Reservoir Simulation Toolbox" , Cambridge University Press, pp. 97 - 148, 2021. DOI: 10.1017/9781009019781.008.

Articles describing SLB's implementation

  • Khataniar et al. Aspects of multiscale flow simulation with potential to enhance reservoir engineering practice. SPE Journal, 27 (01): 663–681, 2022. DOI: 10.2118/203996-PA
  • Natvig et al. Multiscale reservoir simulation of high-resolution models. SPE Reservoir Simulation Conference, Galveston, Texas, USA, March 2023. DOI: 10.2118/212231-MS

Relevant links