A discontinuous overlapping control volume finite element method for multi-phase porous media flow using dynamic unstructured mesh optimization

J. Gomes, C. C. Pain, M. D. Jackson, Pablo Salinas, James R. Percival, Dimitrios Pavlidis, Zhihua Xie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

18 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new, high-order, control-volume-finite-element (CVFE) method with discontinuous Nth- order representation for pressure and (N+1)th-order for velocity. The method conserves mass and ensures that the extended Darcy equations for multi-phase flow are exactly enforced, but does not require the use of control volumes (CVs) that span domain boundaries. We demonstrate that the approach, amongst other features, accurately preserves sharp saturation changes associated with high aspect ratio geologic features such as fractures and mudstones, allowing efficient simulation of flow in highly heterogeneous models. Moreover, in conjunction with dynamic mesh optimization, in which the mesh adapts in space and time to key solution fields such as pressure, velocity or saturation whilst honoring a surface-based representation of the underlying geologic heterogeneity, accurate solutions are obtained at significantly lower computational cost than an equivalent fine, fixed mesh and conventional CVFE methods. The work presented is significant for two reasons. First, it resolves a long-standing problem associated with the use of classical CVFE methods to model flow in highly heterogeneous porous media; second, it reduces computational cost/increases solution accuracy through the use of dynamic mesh optimization without compromising parallelization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium 2015
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781510800618
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
EventSPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium 2015 - Houston, United States
Duration: 23 Feb 201525 Feb 2015


ConferenceSPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding for Salinas from ExxonMobil, for Pavlidis from EPSRC ('Computational Modelling for Advanced Nuclear Power Plants') and EU/FP7 THINS and for Percival and Xie from EPSRC ('Multi-Scale Exploration of Multiphase Physics in Flows' - MEMPHIS) is gratefully acknowledged. TOTAL are also thanked for part funding Jackson under the TOTAL Chairs programme at Imperial College. We also thank Qinghua Lei for providing the mesh and domain for the numerical experiment shown in Fig. 14.


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