A robust, multi-solution framework for well placement and control optimization

Mohammad Salehian*, Morteza Haghighat Sefat, Khafiz Muradov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Field development and control optimization aim to maximize the economic profit of oil and gas production while considering several sources of uncertainty. This results in a high-dimensional optimization problem with a computationally demanding and uncertain objective function based on the simulated reservoir model. The limitations of many current robust optimization methods are: 1) it is single-level optimization (e.g. optimization of well locations/placement only; or of well production/injection control variables only) that ignores interference between the control variables from different levels; and 2) they provide a single optimal solution, whereas operational problems often add unexpected constraints likely to reduce that optimal, inflexible solution to a sub-optimal scenario. This paper presents a robust, multi-solution framework based on sequential iterative optimization of control variables at multiple levels using the Simultaneous Perturbation Stochastic Approximation (SPSA) optimization algorithm. A systematic realization selection process, tailored to the objective of the subsequent optimization stage, is used to select a small representative ensemble of reservoir model realizations to be used for calculating the expected objective value. The estimated gradients are calculated using a 1:1 ratio mapping ensemble of control variables perturbations at each iteration onto the ensemble of selected reservoir model realizations to reduce the computational cost. An ensemble of close-to-optimum solutions is then chosen from each level (e.g. from the well placement optimization level) and transferred to the next level of optimization (e.g. where the control settings are optimized), and this loop continues until no significant improvement is observed in the expected objective value. Fit-for-purpose clustering techniques are developed to systematically select an ensemble of solutions, with maximum differences in control variables but close-to-optimum objective values, at each optimization level. The proposed framework has been tested on a benchmark case study (Brugge field). Multiple solutions are obtained with different well locations and control settings but close-to-optimum objective values. We show that suboptimal solutions from an early optimization level can approach and even outdo the optimal one at the next level(s). Results demonstrate the advantage of the developed framework in more efficient exploration of the search space and providing the much-needed operational flexibility to field operators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897–914
Number of pages18
JournalComputational Geosciences
Issue number4
Early online date12 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Geological uncertainty
  • Optimal control
  • Robust optimization
  • SPSA
  • Well placement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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