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Production Optimization under Uncertainty

Research paper presentation by:

Braw Mahmod

Supervised by: Muhammad Ali


• Project background
• Objectives
• Literature review
• Research methodology
• Results and discussion
• Conclusion.
Project background
The high levels of uncertainty and risk associated to some oil fields projects suggests the
employment of probabilistically optimized production strategies. This allows the design of a
strategy more suited to absorb the impacts caused by uncertainty.
In the initial phase of the project, information about the reservoir geology is obtained from
few wells drilled or inferred from indirect sources
Project background
• Traditional probabilistic optimization processes usually give more emphasis to
geological uncertainties than economic.
• In a conventional approach, the optimization of a production strategy under uncertainty
is done through the composition of Geological Representative Models (GRM) with the
realizations of economic scenarios, forming a decision tree
• The main objective of probabilistic methodologies for production strategies optimization.

• Design of a strategy (more suited to absorb the impacts caused by uncertainty)

Literature review
• As a summery of this work, It presents a methodology that gives more accuracy to the handling of

uncertainty in optimization process of production strategies. In this methodology, pessimistic,

intermediate and optimistic realizations for the geological model and the economic environment can

be considered
Literature review
• An algorithm that carries out the EMV of a production strategy for each step of the optimization was
developed. This algorithm performs the interconnection between flow simulation and economic
analyses, necessary to calculate the EMV of a production strategy
Literature review
• The performance of the proposed methodology is compared with the performance of a conventional
methodology of production optimization under uncertainty. A case with three geological models and
three economic scenarios is studied. The optimized strategy presents more adaptability to the possible
variations, showing a good performance in all adopted contexts
• The methodology presented in this paper proposes a more rigorous approach in the optimization of
decision tree branches. Different from conventional approach, the optimization is made directly on
response surface of the EMV of the production strategy.

• A production strategy is independently optimized for each branch of this tree, as shown in Figure 1.

• A technique to perform flow simulate associated with economic analysis was developed allowing the
optimization of a single strategy for all branches of the decision tree, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1 – Conventional methodology of production strategy Figure 2 – Proposed methodology of production strategy
optimization under uncertainties optimization under uncertainties
In order to lead the optimization process considering the geological and economic uncertainties, it is necessary to develop a

technique that allows the calculation of the EMV at each step.

•The first step in the development of this technique is to

build the flow models
for each geologic representative model
(GRM) in meshes of equal size.

These meshes should also represent the same geographical

region, so that there is perfect overlap between them

as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 – Geological models overlap

• The second step is to structure the flow model files of GRM in a way that it is possible to perform the sharing of a single well

definition file, as outlined in Figure 4. In this work, the well definition file is responsible for defining a production strategy,

providing the quantities and placement of wells. By sharing the well definition file, any change done in this file will automatically

impacts all flow models

• Finally, the performance of the strategy is evaluated in all geological models and economic scenarios. Thus, it is possible to

calculate the objective-function, (EMV), to define the next steps of optimization .

EMV (expected monitoring value ) Flow Models Wells

Files File
Figure 4 – Sharing a single wells file
• Conventional Methodology

The branch that generated the optimized strategy with highest EMV corresponds to the optimistic
geological model and intermediary economic scenario. The optimal strategy consists of 10 producers
wells and 6 injectors wells and has an EMV of US$ 780.00 MM. Figure 5 shows the optimal strategy
optimized by conventional methodology.

Figure 5 – Conventional methodology

optimized production strategy
This optimization has spent 12,981 flow simulations. These simulations were performed in approximately
43.3 hours. Table 1 the performance of this strategy in all branches of the decision tree .

Table1 - Production Strategy Performance – Conventional Methodology


• Proposed Methodology
The optimized strategy using this approach generated an EMV of US$ 850.00 MM after 4,074 flow
simulations in approximately 13.6 hours. This strategy consists of 18 wells with 11 producers and 7
injectors. Figure 6 the strategy.  

Figure 6 – Proposed methodology optimized production strategy


• Table 2 shows the performance of this strategy in all branches of the decision tree

Table 2 – Production Strategy Performance – Proposed Methodology

• Comparison of Performance
The EMV of the strategy optimized by the proposed methodology was US$ 70.0 MM higher than the
EMV of the strategy optimized by conventional methodology. This difference, which represents the cost
of 2 wells, was due the good performance of the proposed methodology that optimizes the strategy in
almost all possible contexts. Table 3 shows the comparison of performances of the two strategies in all
branches of the decision tree.
Table 3 Performance comparison between optimized production strategies
• Figure 7 shows the risk curves for the two optimized strategies. It can be observed that the strategy
optimized by the proposed methodology tends to be more adaptable to possible changes to the
geological-economic context

fig 7
NPV Net Present Value
• The proposed methodology was a viable alternative for consideration of uncertainties in an
optimization process of production strategies. Although more rigorous than the conventional method,
there is a decrease in the number of simulations required to optimize the production strategy.