We describe the development and validation of a novel algorithm for field-development optimization problems and document field-testing results. Our algorithm is founded on recent developments in bound-constrained multiobjective optimization of nonsmooth functions for problems in which the structure of the objective functions either cannot be exploited or are nonexistent. Such situations typically arise when the functions are computed as the result of numerical modeling, such as reservoir-flow simulation within the context of field-development planning and reservoir management.

We propose an efficient implementation of a novel parallel algorithm, namely BiMADS++, for the biobjective optimization problem. Biobjective optimization is a special case of multiobjective optimization with the property that Pareto points may be ordered, which is extensively exploited by the BiMADS++ algorithm. The optimization algorithm generates an approximation of the Pareto front by solving a series of single-objective formulations of the biobjective optimization problem. These single-objective problems are solved using a new and more efficient implementation of the mesh adaptive direct search (MADS) algorithm, developed for nonsmooth optimization problems that arise within reservoir-simulation-based optimization workflows. The MADS algorithm is extensively benchmarked against alternative single-objective optimization techniques before the BiMADS++ implementation. Both the MADS optimization engine and the master BiMADS++ algorithm are implemented from the ground up by resorting to a distributed parallel computing paradigm using message passing interface (MPI) for efficiency in industrial-scaleproblems.

BiMADS++ is validated and field tested on well-location optimization (WLO) problems. We first validate and benchmark the accuracy and computational performance of the MADS implementation against a number of alternative parallel optimizers [e.g., particle-swarm optimization (PSO), genetic algorithm (GA), and simultaneous perturbation and multivariate interpolation (SPMI)] within the context of single-objective optimization. We also validate the BiMADS++ implementation using a challenging analytical problem that gives rise to a discontinuous Pareto front. We then present BiMADS++ WLO applications on two simple, intuitive, and yet realistic problems, and a model for a real problem with known Pareto front. Finally, we discuss the results of the field-testing work on three real-field deepwater models.

The BiMADS++ implementation enables the user to identify various compromise solutions of the WLO problem with a single optimization run without resorting to ad hoc adjustments of penalty weights in the objective function. Elimination of this “trial-and-error” procedure and distributed parallel implementation renders BiMADS++ easy to use and significantly more efficient in terms of computational speed needed to determine alternative compromise solutions of a given WLO problem at hand. In a field-testing example, BiMADS++ delivered a workflow speedup of greater than fourfold with a single biobjective optimization run over the weighted-sumsobjective-function approach, which requires multiple single-objective-function optimization runs.

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