Reliability of subsurface assessment for different field development scenarios depends on how effective the uncertainty in production forecast is quantified. Currently there is a body of work in the literature on different methods to quantify the uncertainty in production forecast. The objective of this paper is to revisit and compare these probabilistic uncertainty quantification techniques through their applications to assisted history matching of a deep-water offshore waterflood field. The paper will address the benefits, limitations, and the best criteria for applicability of each technique.
Three probabilistic history matching techniques commonly practiced in the industry are discussed. These are Design-of-Experiment (DoE) with rejection sampling from proxy, Ensemble Smoother (ES) and Genetic Algorithm (GA). The model used for this study is an offshore waterflood field in Gulf-of-Mexico. Posterior distributions of global subsurface uncertainties (e.g. regional pore volume and oil-water contact) were estimated using each technique conditioned to the injection and production data.
The three probabilistic history matching techniques were applied to a deep-water field with 13 years of production history. The first 8 years of production data was used for the history matching and estimate of the posterior distribution of uncertainty in geologic parameters. While the convergence behavior and shape of the posterior distributions were different, consistent posterior means were obtained from Bayesian workflows such as DoE or ES. In contrast, the application of GA showed differences in posterior distribution of geological uncertainty parameters, especially those that had small sensitivity to the production data. We then conducted production forecast by including infill wells and evaluated the production performance using sample means of posterior geologic uncertainty parameters. The robustness of the solution was examined by performing history matching multiple times using different initial sample points (e.g. random seed). This confirmed that heuristic optimization techniques such as GA were unstable since parameter setup for the optimizer had a large impact on uncertainty characterization and production performance.
This study shows the guideline to obtain the stable solution from the history matching techniques used for different conditions such as number of simulation model realizations and uncertainty parameters, and number of datapoints (e.g. maturity of the reservoir development). These guidelines will greatly help the decision-making process in selection of best development options.