The real-time monitoring, model updating, simulation and optimal control of oil and gas fields is known in the industry by names such as Smart Fields, i-fields, e-fields, Field of the Future, Closed-Loop Reservoir Management, etc. Optimization techniques could be deployed at any stage of the development of a field. Such techniques are of significant potential value in large and small fields. In addition to optimizing field operations, those techniques can be used to determine the location, number, type and scheduling of new wells. It may also be possible in the future to combine field development and operation in one continuous optimization loop. The implementation of such advanced technologies in large and complex oil and gas fields requires several key developments. Service companies and producing companies have already developed and continue to do research on techniques for drilling and completing advanced wells, including long horizontal and deviated and multilateral wells, and wells with control devices. Simulation and monitoring techniques have also been advancing at a fast rate. Relatively inexpensive sensors coming on the market for measuring pressure, temperature, stress and even flow rates (single and multiphase) are now anywhere in the system (including downhole). Optimum development and operation of fields designed and equipped with such advanced hardware will also require significant advances in software technologies to achieve optimum operations.
A number of software technologies can be adopted from other industries, but the nature of the problem requires new research and development. Some of the areas where developments are needed and where our consortium is active are:
The synthesis of all of the above in the closed-loop system is depicted below:
We have created a multidisciplinary, multi-department industrial affiliates research program in the areas identified above. The scope of the project is restricted to the development of methodologies. This program includes research groups from the School of Earth Science (SES) as well as other groups outside SES, including Management Sciences and Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The program is housed in the Stanford Center for Computational Earth and Environmental Science (CEES), and is supervised by the Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) Department. Several major oil and gas producers and large service companies are currently affiliated with the consortium (see Affiliate List in the About section). The membership fee for the consortium is $50,000 per year. This consortium is closely integrated with other relevant groups (SUPRI-B, SUPRI-D, SUPRI-HW, and SCRF)