Optimizing smart well controls under geologic uncertainty Academic Article uri icon


  • Waterflood optimization via rate control is receiving increased interest because of rapid developments in the smart well completions and i-field technology. The use of inflow control valves (ICV) allows us to optimize the production/injection rates of various segments along the wellbore, thereby maximizing sweep efficiency and delaying water breakthrough. A major challenge for practical field implementation of this technology is dealing with geologic uncertainty. In practice, the reservoir geology is known only in a probabilistic sense; hence, the optimization of smart wells should be carried out in a stochastic framework to account for geologic uncertainty.We propose a practical and efficient approach for computing optimal injection and production rates accounting for geological uncertainty. The approach relies on equalizing arrival time of the waterfront at all producers using multiple geologic realizations. The main objective is to improve sweep efficiency and thereby improve oil production and recovery. We account for geologic uncertainty using two optimization schemes. The first one is to formulate the objective function in a stochastic form which relies on a combination of expected value and standard deviation combined with a risk attitude coefficient. The second one is to minimize the worst case scenario using a min-max problem formulation. The optimization is performed under operational and facility constraints using a sequential quadratic programming approach. A major advantage of our approach is the analytical computation of the gradient and Hessian of the objective function which makes it computationally efficient and suitable for large field cases.Multiple examples are presented to support the robustness and efficiency of the proposed optimization scheme. These include 2D synthetic examples for validation and a 3D field-scale application. The role of geologic uncertainty in the outcome of the optimization is demonstrated both during the early stage and also, the later stages of waterflooding when substantial production history is available. 2010 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Alhuthali, A. H., Datta-Gupta, A., Yuen, B., & Fontanilla, J. P.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Alhuthali, Ahmed H||Datta-Gupta, Akhil||Yuen, Bevan||Fontanilla, Jerry P

publication date

  • August 2010