Computational Geosciences

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 283–296 | Cite as

Ensemble clustering for efficient robust optimization of naturally fractured reservoirs

  • Zhe Liu
  • Fahim Forouzanfar
Original Paper


In the development of naturally fractured reservoirs (NFRs), the existence of natural fractures induces severe fingering and breakthrough. To manage the flooding process and improve the ultimate recovery, we propose a numerical workflow to generate optimal production schedules for smart wells, in which the inflow control valve (ICV) settings can be controlled individually. To properly consider the uncertainty introduced by randomly distributed natural fractures, the robust optimization would require a large ensemble size and it would be computationally demanding. In this work, a hierarchical clustering method is proposed to select representative models for the robust optimization in order to avoid redundant simulation runs and improve the efficiency of the robust optimization. By reducing the full ensemble of models into a small subset ensemble, the efficiency of the robust optimization algorithm is significantly improved. The robust optimization is performed using the StoSAG scheme to find the optimal well controls that maximize the net-present-value (NPV) of the NFR’s development. Due to the discrete property of a natural fracture field, traditional feature extraction methods such as model-parameter-based clustering may not be directly applicable. Therefore, two different kinds of clustering-based optimization methods, a state-based (e.g., s w profiles) clustering and a response-based (e.g., production rates) clustering, are proposed and compared. The computational results show that the robust clustering optimization could increase the computational efficiency significantly without sacrificing much expected NPV of the robust optimization. Moreover, the performance of different clustering algorithms varies widely in correspondence to different selections of clustering features. By properly extracting model features, the clustered subset could adequately represent the uncertainty of the full ensemble.


Hierarchical ensemble clustering Robust reservoir optimization Naturally fractured reservoir Non-negative matrix factorization Singular value decomposition 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McDougall School of Petroleum EngineeringUniversity of TulsaTulsaUSA
  2. 2.ExxonMobil Upstream Research CompanyHoustonUSA

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