Distinguished Author Series articles are general, descriptive representations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology by describing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in the topics discussed. Written by individuals recognized to be experts in the area, these articles provide key references to more definitive work and present specific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to inform the general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleum engineering.


With the recent interest and enthusiasm in the industry toward smart wells, intelligent fields, and real-time analysis and interpretation of large amounts of data for process optimization, our industry's need for powerful, robust, and intelligent tools has significantly increased. Operations such as asset evaluation; 3D- and 4D-seismic-data interpretation; complex multilateral-drilling design and implementation; log interpretation; building of geologic models; well-test design, implementation, and interpretation; reservoir modeling; and simulation are being integrated to result in comprehensive reservoir management. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI), in its many integrated flavors from neural networks to genetic optimization to fuzzy logic, has made solid steps toward becoming more accepted in the mainstream of the oil and gas industry. In a recent set of JPT articles, fundamentals of these technologies were discussed. This article covers some of the most recent and advanced uses of intelligent systems in our industry and discusses their potential role in our industry's future.


On the basis of recent developments, it is becoming clear that our industry has realized the immense potential offered by intelligent systems. Our daily life as petroleum professionals is full of battling highly complex and dynamic problems and making high-stakes decisions. Moreover, with the advent of new sensors that are permanently placed in the wellbore, very large amounts of data that carry important and vital information are now available. To make the most of these exotic hardware tools, one must have access to proper software to process the data in real time. Intelligent systems in their many flavors are the only viable techniques capable of bringing real-time analysis and decision-making power to the new hardware.

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