In recent years sharp variations in commodity prices and the decrease in available investment resources have put strong pressure on operators to be very selective regarding expenditure on existing assets. The expectation is that with the amount of technology developed around reservoir modeling and simulation these past 30 years, and the power of modern computers, the industry must be in a position to do better. The tolerance for underperformance, if there ever was one, is at an all-time low.
Current (legacy) reservoir technology
While there have been indeed many improvements to modeling and simulation technologies, the failure to deliver more robust predictions lies in the outmoded pursuit of a single model, despite numerous uncertainties.
Resoptima was the first company to deliver an ensemble-based modeling system in 2013, a dramatic change for the better. Ensemble workflows use all available data for the static model while looking at the entire production history at the same time. This ensures that the models adhere to all known information and that variations from one model to another are only due to uncertainties.
During the many iterations involving the models, no uncertainties are taken out or minimized unless data supports such a change. By acknowledging that there is always some element of unknown in the models of geological formations and fluids thousands of meters underground, the geoscientists and engineers keep an open mind to the risks at hand, thus avoiding the narrow view of the single best model approach of years past.