We propose a simulation methodology that combines the strengths of discrete fracture models with conventional dual porosity simulation. Constructing a grid and solving for flow in both fracture and matrix in a discrete fracture model is frequently so computationally demanding that only small systems can be studied. In contrast, while dual porosity models are more computationally efficient and can be applied at the field scale, they average the fracture properties and the transfer of fluids between fracture and matrix. In our approach we capture the complex geometry and connectivity of the fractures through explicit gridding of the fracture network. However, to avoid the prohibitive computational cost associated with gridding both the fracture and the matrix, we apply transfer functions to accommodate the flow of fluids between these two domains. We use a physically-based approach to modeling the transfer that overcomes many of the limitations of current formulations. The model is based on CSMP, an object-oriented discrete fracture simulator. We validate the method through comparison with one-dimensional analytical solutions and comparison with experiments and simulations where both fracture and matrix are represented. We then present three-dimensional simulations of multiphase flow in a geologically realistic fracture network.


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