Multiscale simulation is a new and promising approach that enables simulation of detailed geological model and the retention of level of detail and heterogeneity that would not be possible via conventional upscaling methods. Most multiscale methods are developed from a sequential formulation, in which flow (pressure-flux) and transport (saturation) equations are solved in separate steps. The flow equation is solved using a set of special multiscale basis functions that attempt to incorporate the effects of sub-grid geological heterogeneity into a global flow equation formulated on a coarsened grid. The multiscale basis functions are computed numerically by solving local flow problems, and can be used to construct conservative fluxes on the coarsened as well as the original fine grid. Herein, we consider one particular multiscale method, the multiscale mixed finite-element method, and discuss how it can be extended to account for capillary pressure effects. The method is evaluated for computational efficiency and accuracy on a series of models with a high degree of realism, including spatially dependent relative permeability and capillary effects, gravity, and highly heterogeneous rock properties specified on representative corner-point grids.


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