IMI Interdisciplinary Mathematics InstituteCollege of Arts and Sciences

An Industrial R&D Perspective on Mathematical Challenges in the Energy Business

  • Sept. 22, 1999
  • 3:30 p.m.
  • LeConte 312


This talk will focus on mathematical challenges facing the energy business in the coming decade. Advances in seismic acquisition, downhole, and communications technology are creating a new set of opportunities in which a broad range of mathematical techniques will be required. Historically, the traditional focus has been on modeling the behavior of reservoirs under production for determining the best exploitation strategies as well as processing of seismic data to obtain an accurate description of the subsurface. Today's focus has shifted towards rigorous coupling of the multi-phase fluid flow simulations with geomechanical models for more accurately assessing drive potential and more accurately predicting well bore failure. Time-lapse seismic has the potential to place further constraints and complexities on these models. More recently, solving complex optimization problems to characterize reservoirs, deciding upon well site selection, and planning infrastructure have produced a class of nonlinear, mixed integer, multi-time period multicriteria problems. Within Mobil, reservoir simulators are now beginning to replace rate allocation heuristics with rSQP algorithms coupling surface facilities simulators with traditional subsurface flow simulators. This places a new class of constraints upon the types of algorithms required. Parallel algorithms targeted towards a loosely coupled collection of processors are increasingly becoming the focus as the industry is moving away from its previous massively parallel approaches. Mathematical formulations will be discussed along with current approaches.

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