Proposal of a rapid model updating and feedback control scheme for polymer flooding processes
The performance of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes is adversely affected by the heterogeneous distribution of flow properties of the rock. The effects of heterogeneity are further highlighted when the mobility ratio between the displacing and the displaced fluids is unfavorable. Polymer flooding aims to mitigate this by controlling the mobility ratio resulting in an increase in the volumetric swept efficiency. However, the design of the polymer injection process has to take into account the uncertainty due to a limited knowledge of the heterogeneous properties of the reservoir. Numerical reservoir models equipped with the most updated, yet uncertain information about the reservoir should be employed to optimize the operational settings. Consequently, the optimal settings are uncertain and should be revised as the model is updated. In this report, a feedback-control scheme is proposed with a model updating step that conditions prior reservoir models to newly obtained dynamic data, and this followed by an optimization step that adjusts well control settings to maximize (or minimize) an objective function. An illustration of the implementation of the proposed closed-loop scheme is presented through an example where the rate settings of a well affected by water coning are adjusted as the reservoir models are updated. The revised control settings yield an increase in the final value of the objective function. Finally, a fast analog of a polymer flooding displacement that traces the movement of random particles from injectors to producers following probability rules that reflect the physics of the actual displacement is presented. The algorithm was calibrated against the full-physics simulation results from UTCHEM, the compositional chemical flow simulator developed at The University of Texas at Austin. This algorithm can be used for a rapid estimation of basic responses such as breakthrough time or recovery factor and to provide a simplified characterization the reservoir heterogeneity. This report is presented to fulfill the requirements to obtain the degree of Master of Science in Engineering under fast track option. It summarizes the research proposal presented for my doctorate studies that are currently ongoing.