Production optimization involves the systematic use of mathematical models and real-time data to optimize production while taking account of operational constraints related to safety, environmental regulations and equipment capacity. This results in complex optimization problems requiring the use of computers to find the solution. While the optimal solutions may sometimes be implemented automatically, more commonly the solutions are presented to production engineers as decision support tools for optimal production system operation.
Production optimization methodology is applicable to many types of complex system operation, including chemical processes, energy systems and transportation systems. The focus for this project will be on production optimization for the petroleum industry. Production optimization in the petroleum industry provide a rich selection of research challenges, related to both the range of timescales involved and the high uncertainty with regards to the behavior of parts of the system.
The activity in the project has also in 2020 been severely hampered by COVID-19. Exchanges of students and scientific employees has been impossible. One of the project's main activities is normally a workshop in Rio de Janeiro, arranged in April/May each year. It seems unlikely that it will be possible to arrange such a workshop this year (not even later in the year), but the feasibility of and interest in a digital workshop is being looked into. Professor Camponogara has lectured parts of a course at NTNU, and in the fall of 2020 he put significant effort into doing the lectures digitally. Apart from that there is common activity in writing scientific papers (only one has been published in the last year - but in a very prestigeous journal), and supervision of a common PhD candidate (who is expected to submit his thesis by the end of the year).
The term production optimization denotes systematic methods combining mathematical models, numerical optimization techniques, and real time data for the purpose of optimizing operations in energy distribution, manufacturing, processing and resource extraction. The focus of the present project will be petroleum production.
The focus on petroleum production poses several distinct challenges that will be foci of research in the project:
i) Any mathematical model describing physical system of non-trivial complexity will be imperfect. Hence it is critical to continuously update/correct the model from available real time data, to maximize the predictive capabilities of the model, and thus also maximize the reliability of the model in representing the potential for improved operation. This is a significant challenge, in particular for the upstream (reservoir) side of petroleum production, due to the relative lack of online data for a very large and complex system.
ii) The very complex and computationally demanding models that are used to describe petroleum reservoirs and wells. This means that in order for the the production optimization methods developed to have reasonable computational demands, the models must be used with the utmost efficiency in the optimization.
In addition to the research aims of the project, the project will also ensure that high quality and specialized education in production optimization is offered to Master students at NTNU, and ensure good contact between industry and academia in both countries in the production optimization area.
INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research