Quantitative Numerical Modeling of Petroleum Systems
A team of researchers has developed a science plan to train students using active research in quantitative numerical modeling of petroleum systems through an industrial affiliates program at Stanford University. The plan was developed with the cooperation and support of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, including the Department of Geological Sciences and the new Center for Computational Earth & Environmental Science (CEES) at Stanford University.
The Natural Gas Initiative examines the dynamic, multifaceted questions raised by the tremendous growth in natural gas production by focusing the efforts of Stanford’s faculty, researchers, and students in six key areas: Resource Development; Environmental Impacts and Climate Change; Uses of Natural Gas; Global Markets and Finance; Policy and Regulatory Reform; and Geopolitical Impacts.
A broad range of fundamental scientific questions must be addressed to consider implementation of large-scale projects of geological CO2 storage and sequestration within the next several decades. Building upon the successful CO2 storage research undertaken over the past eight years in the Global Climate and Energy Project, twelve Stanford professors from the Departments of Energy Resources Engineering, Geological and Environmental Sciences and Geophysics have established a new research consortium: The Stanford Center for Carbon Storage (SCCS) investigates questions related to sequestration in saline aquifers and shale and coal formations, as well as in mature or depleted oil and gas reservoirs as part of enhanced recovery/sequestration/storage projects. This collaborative and multidisciplinary effort addresses critical questions related to flow physics and chemistry, simulation of the transport and fate of CO2 in geologic media, rock physics, geophysical monitoring, and geomechanics.
SCRF was initiated in 1988 to further the development of techniques for forecasting reservoir performance and for integrating geological, geophysical and reservoir engineering data. The SCRF group performs paradigm-changing research in the field of geostatistics and numerical reservoir modeling. We are not bound by the limited extent of project-based research with its short-term deadlines and limited scope. This long-term perspective has lead to revolutionary changes in reservoir modeling, amongst which: the introduction of stochastic simulation in reservoir modeling, GSLIB as a standard geostatistical software package, the advent of multiple-point geostatistics, practical solutions for large-scale inverse problems with geological constraints, an open-source software termed S-GEMS, and techniques for modeling uncertainty. The funding mechanism of SCRF has created a long-term think-tank where a group of faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars and industry experts come together to tackle problems of first-order importance in quantitative modeling of space-time varying phenomena and their applications in reservoir modeling.
Our aim in SFC is to develop efficient software tools for the optimization of oil field development and operations. This includes a wide range of algorithms for optimization, data assimilation and model updating (history matching), fast flow simulation, and handling uncertainty. Techniques being developed by our group are essential for the success of smart fields, also known in industry as i-fields, e-fields, integrated operations, field of the future, etc. Traditional approaches for developing and operating oil and gas fields are rarely optimal, and the gains achieved by deploying these new technologies can be very significant for both existing and new fields. The computational techniques developed in SFC are also applicable for optimizing geological carbon storage operations as well as large-scale integrated energy systems.
The Stanford Exploration Project (SEP) is an industry-funded academic consortium whose purpose is to improve the theory and practice of constructing 3-D and 4-D images of the earth from seismic echo soundings. Although most of our research is targeted at improvements in the geophysical survey contracting industry, about half of our sponsors and alumni are in the petroleum industry because we focus on overcoming technological limitations of the geophysical survey industry. SEP pioneered innovations in migration imaging, velocity estimation, dip moveout and slant stack. Today our focus is on 3-D seismic applications such as velocity estimation, wavefield-continuation prestack migration, multidimensional image estimation, and 4-D (time-lapse) reservoir monitoring. Besides 3-D reflection seismic data, we undertake small 2-D imaging projects with geophysical data of all kinds. The diversity of applications exercises our judgment and skill at combining fundamentals of statistical signal theory, optimization theory, numerical analysis, and wave propagation theory, and this has led us to numerous improvements and some breakthroughs. We organize our research to facilitate technology transfer by using a formal method of makefile rules. With these, most of our research results are verified by someone other than the original researcher. Research progress reports at least three years old and all PhD theses are made available to the public through our web site.
The Stanford Project on Deepwater Depositional Systems (SPODDS) is a research program focused on the study of ancient and modern coarse-clastic deep-water deposits from around the world. Affiliate members of this industrial consortium include numerous international energy companies that seek greater understanding of deep-water deposits as reservoir system for oil and gas.
The SRB Program is an Industrial Affiliates program in the Geophysics Department at Stanford University. SRB is the acronym for The Stanford Rock Physics & Borehole Geophysics Project.
The research of SUPRI-A is relevant to so-called unconventional resources that are hard to produce with conventional techniques. Unconventional resources of current interest to the group are heavy and viscous oils and fractured, heterogeneous porous media containing hydrocarbons. With respect to the future significant new effort is envisioned. In addition to the dynamics of unstable flows, we plan an examination of the role of noncondensable gases on the gravity drainage of viscous oil from heterogeneous media. We will continue our efforts to develop cost-effective methods to produce oil and gas from tight rocks, such as diatomite, siliceous shale, and coal as well as consider the use of polymers and surfactants to enable cold production.
Reservoir simulation entails the development and implementation of efficient computational techniques for the accurate numerical solution of the equations governing multicomponent, multiphase flow in porous subsurface formations. It also includes the detailed modeling of wellbore flow, accurate representation of advanced wells, and integration of the reservoir model with production facilities. Our recent research additionally targets the development of capabilities required for modeling long-term carbon storage and in-situ upgrading of energy resources. We work in virtually all aspects of reservoir simulation, and our research program is constantly evolving to meet current challenges and student interests of.
Innovative well test interpretation techniques that can make use of the new measurements and new computer capabilities now available have already been shown to provide more reliable results and less expensive tests. We aim to explore new ways to improve further on these successes, and to investigate novel approaches in the interpretation of oil, gas, geothermal and water well tests.