Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Petroleum Engineering

Document Type



A reservoir engineering Grid computing toolkit, ResGrid and its extensions, were developed and applied to designed reservoir simulation studies and continuous reservoir model updating. The toolkit provides reservoir engineers with high performance computing capacity to complete their projects without requiring them to delve into Grid resource heterogeneity, security certification, or network protocols.

Continuous and real-time reservoir model updating is an important component of closed-loop model-based reservoir management. The method must rapidly and continuously update reservoir models by assimilating production data, so that the performance predictions and the associated uncertainty are up-to-date for optimization. The ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF), a Bayesian approach for model updating, uses Monte Carlo statistics for fusing observation data with forecasts from simulations to estimate a range of plausible models. The ensemble of updated models can be used for uncertainty forecasting or optimization.

Grid environments aggregate geographically distributed, heterogeneous resources. Their virtual architecture can handle many large parallel simulation runs, and is thus well suited to solving model-based reservoir management problems. In the study, the ResGrid workflow for Grid-based designed reservoir simulation and an adapted workflow provide tools for building prior model ensembles, task farming and execution, extracting simulator output results, implementing the EnKF, and using a web portal for invoking those scripts.

The ResGrid workflow is demonstrated for a geostatistical study of 3-D displacements in heterogeneous reservoirs. A suite of 1920 simulations assesses the effects of geostatistical methods and model parameters. Multiple runs are simultaneously executed using parallel Grid computing. Flow response analyses indicate that efficient, widely-used sequential geostatistical simulation methods may overestimate flow response variability when compared to more rigorous but computationally costly direct methods.

Although the EnKF has attracted great interest in reservoir engineering, some aspects of the EnKF remain poorly understood, and are explored in the dissertation. First, guidelines are offered to select data assimilation intervals. Second, an adaptive covariance inflation method is shown to be effective to stabilize the EnKF. Third, we show that simple truncation can correct negative effects of nonlinearity and non-Gaussianity as effectively as more complex and expensive reparameterization methods.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Christopher D. White