Forecasting production from hydrocarbon fields is challenging because of the large number of uncertain model parameters and the multitude of observed data that are measured. The large number of model parameters leads to uncertainty in the production forecast from hydrocarbon fields. Changing operating conditions [e.g., implementation of improved oil recovery or enhanced oil recovery (EOR)] results in model parameters becoming sensitive in the forecast that were not sensitive during the production history. Hence, simulation approaches need to be able to address uncertainty in model parameters as well as conditioning numerical models to a multitude of different observed data.
Sampling from distributions of various geological and dynamic parameters allows for the generation of an ensemble of numerical models that could be falsified using principal-component analysis (PCA) for different observed data. If the numerical models are not falsified, machine-learning (ML) approaches can be used to generate a large set of parameter combinations that can be conditioned to the different observed data. The data conditioning is followed by a final step ensuring that parameter interactions are covered. The methodology was applied to a sandstone oil reservoir with more than 70 years of production history containing dozens of wells.
The resulting ensemble of numerical models is conditioned to all observed data. Furthermore, the resulting posterior-model parameter distributions are only modified from the prior-model parameter distributions if the observed data are informative for the model parameters. Hence, changes in operating conditions can be forecast under uncertainty, which is essential if nonsensitive parameters in the history are sensitive in the forecast.