Computational Geosciences

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 213–230 | Cite as

Generalized field-development optimization with well-control zonation



Of concern in the development of oil fields is the problem of determining the optimal locations of wells and the optimal controls to place on the wells. Extraction of hydrocarbon resources from petroleum reservoirs in a cost-effective manner requires that the producers and injectors be placed at optimal locations and that optimal controls be imposed on the wells. While the optimization of well locations and well controls plays an important role in ensuring that the net present value of the project is maximized, optimization of other factors such as well type and number of wells also plays important roles in increasing the profitability of investments. Until very recently, improving the net worth of hydrocarbon assets has been focused primarily on optimizing the well locations or well controls, mostly manually. In recent times, automatic optimization using either gradient-based algorithms or stochastic (global) optimization algorithms has become increasingly popular. A well-control zonation (WCZ) approach to estimating optimal well locations, well rates, well type, and well number is proposed. Our approach uses a set of well coordinates and a set of well-control variables as the optimization parameters. However, one of the well-control variables has its search range extended to cover three parts, one part denoting the region where the well is an injector, a second part denoting the region where there is no well, and a third part denoting the region where the well is a producer. By this, the optimization algorithm is able to match every member in the set of well coordinates to three possibilities within the search space of well controls: an injector, a no-well situation, or a producer. The optimization was performed using differential evolution, and two sample applications were presented to show the effectiveness of the method. Results obtained show that the method is able to reduce the number of optimization variables needed and also to identify simultaneously, optimal well locations, optimal well controls, optimal well type, and the optimum number of wells. Also, comparison of results with the mixed integer nonlinear linear programming (MINLP) approach shows that the WCZ approach mostly outperformed the MINLP approach.


Well placement optimization Generalized field development optimization Well control zonation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

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