Feedback control of polymer flooding process considering geologic uncertainty



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Polymer flooding is economically successful in reservoirs where the water flood mobility ratio is high, and/or the reservoir heterogeneity is adverse, because of the improved sweep resulting from the mobility-controlled oil displacement. The performance of a polymer flood can be further improved if the process is dynamically controlled using updated reservoir models and a closed-loop production optimization scheme is implemented. However, the formulation of an optimal production strategy is based on uncertain production forecasts resulting from uncertainty in spatial representation of reservoir heterogeneity, geologic scenarios, inaccurate modeling, scaling, just to cite a few factors. Assessing the uncertainty in reservoir modeling and transferring it to uncertainty in production forecasts is crucial for efficiently controlling the process. This dissertation presents a feedback control framework that (1) assesses uncertainty in reservoir modeling and production forecasts, (2) updates the prior uncertainty in reservoir models by integrating continuously monitored production data, and (3) formulates optimal injection/production rates for the updated reservoir models. This approach focuses on assessing uncertainty in reservoir modeling and production forecasts originated mainly by uncertain geologic scenarios and spatial variations of reservoir properties (heterogeneity). This uncertainty is mapped in a metric space created by comparing multiple reservoir models and measuring differences in effective heterogeneity related to well connectivity and well responses characteristic of polymer flooding. Continuously monitored production data is used to refine the uncertainty map using a Bayesian inversion algorithm. In contrast to classical approach of history matching by model perturbation, a model selection problem is implemented where highly probable reservoir models are selected to represent the posterior uncertainty in production forecasts. The model selection procedure yields the posterior uncertainty associated with the reservoir model. The production optimization problem is solved using the posterior models and a proxy model of polymer flooding to rapidly evaluate the objective function and response surfaces to represent the relationship between well controls and an economic objective function. The value of the feedback control framework is demonstrated with two examples of polymer flooding where the economic performance was maximized.