Uncertainty mastered

Statoil and Emerson sign multi-year agreements to develop uncertainty management and production forecasting. Enable ‘proxy-based’ history match gets EnKF boost. Thin client/NoSQL for EC cloud.

In our report from the 2012 EAGE (Oil ITJ July 2012), we summarized a presentation by Statoil’s Xavier van Lanen and Jan-Arild Skjervheim outlining an automated workflow spanning geomodeling to simulation. The compute intensive technology (28 CPU hours per realization was cited) provides a ‘whole loop’ workflow around structural modeling and production history matching—along with rigorous evaluation of uncertainty in production forecasts.

Oil IT Journal can now reveal that much of the enabling technology for Statoil’s workflow comes from Emerson’s Roxar unit which has now embarked on a three year ‘Total uncertainty management’ (TUM) program with Statoil to further develop and commercialize the technology. TUM sets out to enhance Roxar’s reservoir management software, notably the Enable assisted history match and uncertainty management tool. TUM will lead to commercial software applications that allow uncertainties to be quantified across the complete reservoir characterization and development workflow. New solutions for horizon and fault uncertainty in Roxar’s RMS structural modeler will be unveiled early in 2013.

TUM builds on the ‘proxy-based’ history matching technique behind Roxar’s Enable which has undergone field trials by Statoil and will be enhanced with Statoil’s in-house developed ensemble Kalman filter, said to be successful in modelling the results of 4D seismics.

Roxar claims a key differentiator for its toolset is its thin client approach and the ability to spin-out compute intensive work to a Linux cluster. Even if you haven’t got your own cluster, that’s OK, you can run it in the Amazon EC cloud. As Roxar’s Dan Dailey told Oil ‘90% of the world’s fastest computers run on Linux. Linux, along with our thin client architecture, eases the transition to the cloud. Other reservoir management software packages [read Petrel] are more ‘fat-client,’ with most of their resources installed locally. This approach is less well-suited to cloud computing.’ Roxar claims a significant cost advantage to running Linux in the cloud over similar number crunching on Windows.

Another key component of Roxar’s Cloud/cluster strategy is its ‘.Rox’ (pronounced ‘dot Rox’) environment, first announced in 2010 (OITJ July 2010). The .Rox platform comprises what Roxar describes as ‘a schemaless, transactional, NoSQL object store.’ At first the system will ship with filesystem-based storage. Later on, open-source and/or commercial databases will be available. More on the state of play in high performance computing as witnessed by the latest TOP500.org list on page four of this issue and from Roxar.

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