Thermal Reservoir Simulation

Thermal reservoir and geomechanical simulations are conducted simultaneously to predict the stress changes in the caprock during thermal recovery operations. They are necessary to ensure that the steam injected stays in the producing formation supporting production as well as to ensure safe operations. Reservoir modelling is heavily dependent on having right input in the model. This involves good data quality control, sound geological interpretation and correct model setup.

The reservoir description will typically start with a geological model. Often they are simplified to concentrate on the physical aspects of the caprock. The maximum stresses do not occur over the wells but along the “shoulder” of the steam chamber. Therefore pads must be modelled and single well pair models cannot be used. Due to long execution times, element of symmetry models are used. The most critical areas, from a caprock perspective, are selected to provide a maximum operating pressure.


Thermal reservoir simulation gives a comprehensive assessment of caprock integrity during steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) or cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) operations. The AER also requires a caprock evaluation as part of the commercial licensing process.

Features & Benefits

Joint thermal reservoir simulation coupled with finite element modelling is the most comprehensive type of analysis available. At BGES, simulation is performed by an industry expert with over 30 years of experience in thermal recovery.


A caprock simulation requires considerable processing time. Utilizing a single processor solver will typically take 6 to 12 months from start-up to completion of the model. BGES uses up to 8 processors on a high power workstation to significantly reduce the processing time to about 3 months.