Ensemble-based history-matching methods have received much attention in reservoir engineering. In real applications, small ensembles are often used in reservoir simulations to reduce the computational costs. A small ensemble size may lead to ensemble collapse, a phenomenon in which the spread of the ensemble of history-matched reservoir models becomes artificially small. Ensemble collapse is not desired for an ensemble-based history-matching method because it not only deteriorates the capacity in uncertainty quantification, but also forces the ensemble-based method to later stop updating reservoir models. In practice, distance-based localization is thus introduced to tackle ensemble collapse. Distance-based localization works well in many problems. However, one prerequisite in using distance-based localization is that the observations have associated physical locations. In certain circumstances with complex observations, this may not be true, and it thus becomes challenging to apply distance-based localization.

In this work, we propose a correlation-based adaptive localization scheme that does not rely on the physical locations of the observations. Instead, we use the spatial distributions of the correlations between model variables and the corresponding simulated observations. In the course of history matching, we update model variables by only using the observations that have relatively high correlations with them, while excluding those that have relatively low correlations. This is equivalent to introducing a data-selection procedure to the history-matching algorithm. As a result, the threshold values for data selection play an essential role in the proposed adaptive localization scheme, and we develop both ideal and practical approaches to the choices of the threshold values.

We demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed localization scheme using seismic history-matching problems—one 2D and one 3D—in which ensemble collapse is severe in the presence of large amounts of observational data, but distance-based localization may not be applicable because of the lack of physical locations of the seismic data in use. In contrast, correlation-based localization works well to prevent ensemble collapse and also renders good history-matching results. We also note some practical conveniences of the proposed localization scheme, including the applicability to nonlocal observations, the relative simplicity in implementation, the transferability of the same codes among different (either 2D or 3D) case studies, and the adaptivity to different types of observations and petrophysical parameters.

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