A probabilistic workflow for uncertainty analysis using a proxy-based approach applied to tight reservoir simulation studies




Wantawin, Marut

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Uncertainty associated with reservoir simulation studies should be thoroughly captured during history matching process and adequately explained during production forecasts. Lacking information and limited accuracy of measurements typically cause uncertain reservoir properties in the reservoir simulation models. Unconventional tight reservoirs, for instances, often deal with complex dynamic flow behavior and inexact dimensions of hydraulic fractures that directly affect production estimation. Non-unique history matching solutions on the basis of probabilistic logic are recognized in order to avoid underestimating prediction results. Assisted history matching techniques have been widely proposed in many literature to quantify the uncertainty. However, few applications were done in unconventional reservoirs where some distinct uncertain factors could significantly influence well performance. In this thesis, a probabilistic workflow was developed using proxy-modeling approach to encompass uncertain parameters of unconventional reservoirs and obtain reliable prediction. Proxy-models were constructed by Design of Experiments (DoE) and Response Surface Methodology (RSM). As preliminary screening tools, significant parameters were identified, thus removing those that were insignificant for the reduced dimensions. Furthermore, proxy-models were systematically built to approximate the actual simulation, then sampling algorithms, e.g. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method, successfully estimated probabilistic history matching solutions. An iterative procedure was also introduced to gradually improve the accuracy of proxy-models at the interested region with low history matching errors. The workflow was applied to case studies in Middle Bakken reservoir and Marcellus Shale formation. In addition to estimating misfit function for the errors, proxy-models are also regressed on the simulated quantity of the measurements at various points in time, which is shown to be very useful. This alternative method was utilized in a synthetic tight reservoir model, which analyzed the impact of complex fracture network relative to instantaneous well performance at different stages. The results in this thesis show that the proxy-based approach reasonably provides simplified approximation of actual simulation. Besides, they are very flexible and practical for demonstrating the non-unique history matching solutions and analyzing the probability distributions of complicated reservoir and fracture properties. Ultimately, the developed workflow delivers probabilistic production forecasts with efficient computational requirement.


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