Production optimization led by computing intelligence can greatly improve oilfield economic effectiveness. However, it is confronted with huge computational challenge because of the expensive black-box objective function and the high-dimensional design variables. Many low-fidelity methods based on simplified physical models or data-driven models have been proposed to reduce evaluation costs. These methods can approximate the global fitness landscape to a certain extent, but it is difficult to ensure accuracy and correlation in local areas. Multifidelity methods have been proposed to balance the advantages of the two, but most of the current methods rely on complex computational models. Through a simple but efficient shortcut, our work aims to establish a novel production-optimization framework using genetic transfer learning to accelerate convergence and improve the quality of optimal solution using results from different fidelities. Net present value (NPV) is a widely used standard to comprehensively evaluate the economic value of a strategy in production optimization. On the basis of NPV, we first established a multifidelity optimization model that can synthesize the reference information from high-fidelity tasks and the approximate results from low-fidelity tasks. Then, we introduce the concept of relative fidelity as an indicator for quantifying the dynamic reliability of low-fidelity methods, and further propose a two-mode multifidelity genetic transfer learning framework that balances computing resources for tasks with different fidelity levels. The multitasking mode takes the elite solution as the transfer medium and forms a closed-loop feedback system through the information exchange between low- and high-fidelity tasks in parallel. Sequential transfer mode, a one-way algorithm, transfers the elite solutions archived in the previous mode as the population to high-fidelity domain for further optimization. This framework is suitable for population-based optimization algorithms with variable search direction and step size. The core work of this paper is to realize the framework by means of differential evolution (DE), for which we propose the multifidelity transfer differential evolution (MTDE). Corresponding to multitasking and sequential transfer in the framework, MTDE includes two modes, transfer based on base vector (b-transfer) and transfer based on population (p-transfer). The b-transfer mode incorporates the unique advantages of DE into fidelity switching, whereas the p-transfer mode adaptively conducts population for further high-fidelity local search. Finally, the production-optimization performance of MTDE is validated with the egg model and two real field cases, in which the black-oil and streamline models are used to obtain high- and low-fidelity results, respectively. We also compared the convergence curves and optimization results with the single-fidelity method and the greedy multifidelity method. The results show that the proposed algorithm has a faster convergence rate and a higher-quality well-control strategy. The adaptive capacity of p-transfer is also demonstrated in three distinct cases. At the end of the paper, we discuss the generalization potential of the proposed framework.

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