Data from a wide variety of sources are required for reservoir simulation. Simulation itself produces large quantities of data. Yet, good data management practices for reservoir simulation data are typically neither well-understood nor widely investigated. This paper presents a specific architecture to manage reservoir simulation data, discusses experiences from six years of global use, explains adjustments to support changing workflows and outlines challenges that lie ahead.

The architecture consists of a Database Management System (DBMS) and files in managed file directories, called Reservoir Input Output System (RIOS). All simulation input data and results are maintained by a Data Management System (DMS). The reservoir simulator reads input files written from the DBMS to RIOS and writes results to files in RIOS. DBMS, RIOS and integrated management tools (DMS) make up the data management environment.

The environment has been in use inside ExxonMobil since late 2000 and now supports close to 500 users (85% of reservoir engineers). There are over 30 individual databases containing 2TB of online data and about 6TB of online RIOS data. The environment itself introduces some additional work. Support staff is required for maintenance of databases, RIOS areas and problem resolution. Direct user manipulation of data is not permitted and additional tools are required to access and interpret data.

The environment provides many benefits. While it insures data integrity, security and consistency, it also automatically updates defaults, limits, associations, types, etc. This allows running of older simulations and generation of aggregate statistics and usage audit trails.

The architecture and experiences presented in this paper may be unique in the industry. The DMS was designed, developed and deployed over a ten year period. It is a successful software story and is viewed, along with the simulator, as a key enabling technology for success with reservoir simulation within ExxonMobil.

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