Model Calibration and Efficient Reservoir Imaging (MCERI)



The MCERI (Model Calibration and Efficient Reservoir Imaging) industrial research consortium at Texas A&M University has been at the forefront of reservoir modeling, history matching, and streamline simulation technologies for well over the last decade. Much of the mathematical foundations behind modern streamline simulation have been developed in the research consortium, which is co-directed by Dr. Akhil Datta-Gupta  ( and Dr. Michael J. King ( Dr. Datta-Gupta and King co-authored the SPE textbook on the subject, ‘Streamline Simulation: Theory and Practice’. The research consortium continues to be one of the most active centers for the development of streamline technology and its applications to reservoir management and optimization, multi-scale data integration and history matching, upscaling/upgridding, and more recently, performance analysis and optimization of unconventional wells.

                                 Streamlines depicting reservoir flow patterns and well drainage/swept volumes                                        

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Reconciling high resolution geologic models to dynamic data such as transient pressure, tracer and multiphase production history or time-lapse seismic data is by far the most time-consuming aspect of the workflow for both geoscientists and engineers. The situation is further complicated by the rapid progress in well-construction technology and the advent of smart wells and permanent down-hole sensors. The amount of data collected is increasingly becoming overwhelming and there is an immediate need to improve our capabilities to utilize the data in a timely and efficient manner. Furthermore, as the use of time-lapse seismic becomes more common in the industry, there is also an increasing demand for quantitative and efficient use of these data for reservoir characterization in addition to reservoir monitoring.  A focus of the MCERI research consortium has been the development of novel techniques and efficient workflows for reconciling high resolution geologic models to pressures, rates, fluid production and time lapse seismic response. This includes geologically consistent regionalization and re-parameterization, identification of spatial distribution of reservoir properties, and uncertainty quantification.


                                                            Integrated reservoir modeling approach

How coarse is coarse and how fine is fine? This is an often asked question in reservoir simulation and modeling. We have developed novel adaptive upgridding algorithms to address this question through the design of simulation grids that optimally preserve the reservoir heterogeneity and geologic features. These techniques have been extensively applied to simulation layer design for both conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

                                                  Adaptive upgridding of high resolution geologic models

A more recent focus of the MCERI consortium has been development of novel approaches for performance analysis and optimization of unconventional wells. Using high frequency asymptotic methods we have generalized the concept of depth of investigation to unconventional wells with multistage hydraulic fractures using a ‘diffusive time of flight (DTOF)’. The DTOF can be computed using fast marching methods for visualization of well drainage volumes in the presence of hydraulic and natural fractures. The fast marching methods can be orders of magnitude faster than conventional reservoir simulators and allow for efficient computation of pressure and rate transient response, matrix-fracture parameter estimation and optimization of well completion strategy. More importantly, in a manner analogous to streamline simulation, we can use the DTOF as a spatial coordinate to reduce the 3-D diffusivity equation into an equivalent 1-D equation leading to a comprehensive and fast flow simulator for unconventional oil and gas reservoirs with relevant micro and nano-scale physics including multiphase and compositional effects (patent pending, 2013).


  Visualizing evolution of well drainage volumes in unconventional reservoirs using the Fast Marching Method

A major emphasis of the MCERI research consortium has been field application and validation of the novel technologies in close collaboration with the industrial partners.

Some recent MCERI publications are listed below.

  • Zhang, Y., Bansal, N., Fujita, Y., Datta-Gupta, A., King, M. J., and Sankaran, S., From Streamlines to Fast Marching: Rapid Simulation and Performance Assessment of Shale Gas Reservoirs Using Diffusive Time of Flight as a Spatial Coordinate, Presented at the SPE Unconventional Resources Conference – USA held in The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 1-3 April 2014.
  • Zhang, Y., Yang, C., King, M. J. and Datta-Gupta, A.Fast-Marching Methods for Complex Grids and Anisotropic Permeabilities: Application to Unconventional Reservoirs, SPE 163637 presented at the SPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium held in The Woodlands, Texas USA, 18–20 February 2013.
  • Rey, A., Bhark, E., Gao, K., Datta-Gupta, A. and Gibson, R., Streamline-based integration of time-lapse seismic and production data into petroleum reservoir models,” Geophysics, 77 (6), December (2012).
  • Zhang, Y., King, M. J. and Datta-Gupta, A., Robust Streamline Tracing Using Inter-Cell Fluxes in Locally Refined and Unstructured Grids, Water Resources Research, 48, W06521, doi:10.1029/2011WR011396 (2012).
  • Bhark, E., Rey, A., Datta-Gupta, A. and Jafarpour, B., A Multiscale Workflow for History Matching in Structured and Unstructured Grid Geometries, SPE Journal, 17(3), September 2012, Pages 828-848.

Read more about our research

Technology Transfer

We will work closely with member companies whenever there is an interest in technology transfer via either integration with internal company software or via commercialization. In addition, we plan to disseminate the information to member companies via the following mechanisms.

  •  Annual Meeting

We plan to hold at least one annual meeting to present our research progress to the industrial sponsors. Detailed annual reports and source code for all the softwares developed under this project will also be provided to the sponsor. A semi-annual progress report will also be sent to sponsors.

  • On-site Meeting and Training on Request

We will be willing to visit the member companies on-site to discuss research projects or provide training for the softwares developed under this project as long as the cost of such visits are borne out by the companies.


Benefits of joining the consortium include annual meeting, detailed annual report, semi-annual progress report and access to the source code of all software developed under the project. In addition, we will visit the member companies on request to discuss research projects or provide limited training for the software.

Organizations interested in becoming members of MCERI should contact:

Professor Akhil Datta-Gupta
Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering
Texas A&M University
, TAMU 3116
Phone: (979) 847-9030, Fax: (979) 862-1272

Professor Michael King
Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering
Texas A&M University
, TAMU 3116
Phone: (979) 845-1488, Fax: (979) 862-1272