Evaluation of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) performance that involves detailed compositional simulations is usually deterministic, cumbersome, expensive (manpower and time consuming), and not quite suitable for practical decision making and forecasting, particularly when dealing with high-dimensional data space consisting of large number of operational and geological parameters. Data-driven modeling techniques, which entail comprehensive data analysis and implementation of machine learning methods for system forecast, provide an attractive alternative.

In this paper, artificial neural network (ANN) is employed to predict SAGD production in heterogeneous reservoirs, an important application that is lacking in existing literature. Numerical flow simulations are performed to construct a training data set consists of various attributes describing characteristics associated with reservoir heterogeneities and other relevant operating parameters. Empirical Arps decline parameters are tested successfully for parameterization of cumulative production profile and considered as outputs of the ANN models. Sensitivity studies on network configurations are also investigated. Principal components analysis (PCA) is performed to reduce the dimensionality of the input vector, improve prediction quality, and limit over-fitting. In a case study, reservoirs with distinct heterogeneity distributions are fed to the model. It is shown that robustness and accuracy of the prediction capability are greatly enhanced when cluster analysis are performed to identify internal data structures and groupings prior to ANN modeling. Both deterministic and fuzzy-based clustering techniques are compared, and separate ANN model is constructed for each cluster. The model is then verified using a testing data set (cases that have not been used during the training stage).

The proposed approach can be integrated directly into most existing reservoir management routines. In addition, incorporating techniques for dimensionality reduction and clustering with ANN demonstrates the viability of this approach for analyzing large field data set. Given that quantitative ranking of operating areas, robust forecasting, and optimization of heavy oil recovery processes are major challenges faced by the industry, the proposed research highlights the significant potential of applying effective data-driven modeling approaches in analyzing other solvent-additive steam injection projects.

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