Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies have rapidly progressed and have significantly affected traditional reservoir engineering, bringing innovative methodologies to reservoir simulations. However, it is essential to understand that these AI and ML technologies are only as effective and trustworthy as the data they are trained on.
As 2022 drew to a close, we saw the emergence of ChatGPT, a development that left me both fascinated and slightly apprehensive. Initial posts on LinkedIn and similar platforms focused on its impressive capabilities, yet it wasn’t long before discussions of its inherent biases began to surface.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies have rapidly progressed and have significantly affected traditional reservoir engineering, bringing innovative methodologies to reservoir simulations. However, it is essential to understand that these AI and ML technologies are only as effective and trustworthy as the data they are trained on. Limiting the data we feed these systems might inadvertently restrict their predictive power and the scope of their solutions.
As we increasingly rely on these data-driven tools for decision-making, we must be cautious of the conclusions they draw and the narratives they generate. These can subtly shape our viewpoints, highlighting the need for a firm understanding of fundamental principles. I am reminded of a term coined by Daniel Yang: the “Nintendo Engineer,” an engineer whose thought process is guided by simulations rather than the other way around.
With this in mind, returning to the foundational principles underpinning our field is crucial. This approach could counterbalance our reliance on AI and ML technologies, helping us maintain a well‑rounded perspective.
The papers I am recommending for your reading embody this mindset.
The first paper highlights these technologies’ practical challenges and constraints, offering valuable insights for reservoir engineers. The authors emphasize the need for a balanced approach that combines these advanced techniques with informed decision-making. They also highlight that only some optimization problems can be solved with a plug-and-play approach and that the engineer has to frame the problem in a manageable and meaningful way.
The second paper addresses the limitations of the conventional Stone II three-phase permeability model and presents a novel, robust alternative. It takes a fundamentals-based approach to develop an alternative model for the three-phase relative permeability model. Inherent in this recommendation is my bias toward heavy oil because it is the area I currently work in.
The third paper showcases the remarkable potential of AI in supplementing traditional reservoir simulation. The paper’s real-world application demonstrates the practicality and adaptability of AI in reservoir engineering and simulation.
I hope you enjoy reading this selection of papers and find them enlightening.
This Month’s Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 214219 Business Intelligence Dashboarding Application in Reservoir Simulation by Ke Wang, ADNOC, et al.
Anson Abraham, SPE, is a reservoir engineer at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) with more than 16 years of experience in the industry. His professional journey has taken him through various reservoir engineering and simulation roles at CNRL, Computer Modelling Group, and Schlumberger, as well as well testing and perforating while at Schlumberger. Abraham holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Adelaide, a master’s degree in reservoir geosciences from the French Institute of Petroleum, and an MBA degree from the University of Calgary.