AIChE Journal Highlight: Modeling and Optimization Tools Aid Oil Field Exploitation


Oil and gas will continue to be the primary energy sources in spite of the growing focus on renewables. In recent years, much research has focused on computer-aided decision-support tools and techniques of modeling, simulation, and optimization for efficiently exploiting these resources. In the August AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Process Systems Engineering Perspective on the Planning and Development of Oil Fields,” Mohammad Sadegh Tavallali of Islamic Azad Univ. (Iran), Iftekhar Karimi of the National Univ. of Singapore, and David Baxendale of RPS Energy (Singapore) analyze the key achievements and gaps in relevant deterministic methods and tools.

A conventional oil field comprises three major infra­structure elements, namely subsurface reservoirs, wells, and a surface network. Wells link the subsurface to the surface. The aim of an oil-field-development project is to find, characterize, and extract underground oil and gas resources in a safe and profitable manner over a period of tens of years. Using the Trapp Field in Kansas as a real-life example, the authors argue that oil fields are dynamic and the planning, development, and operational activities are highly intertwined and time-dependent. Thus, effective and reliable decision-support tools must adequately consider the reservoir dynamics at both...

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