In many situations, our industry today has become very focused on managing huge quantities of data, looking for simple correlations that would enable them to capture useful information applicable to asset planning and field development. One of the key issues with this approach is that it is always looking backward to determine the path forward. By nature, this process is reactionary, making it difficult to identify opportunities for real innovation.

Having assessed the industry position, a new approach was examined where data and information could be continuously fed into an evolving sub-surface geocellular earth modeling tool. This would represent a significant change from the traditional modeling tools where changes are limited due to the time and effort required to collect and process new information, then work through the entire modeling process. This new approach requires a geocellular earth model that is capable of receiving new information continuously and updating quickly. Forward modeling in this way provides a single environment where geoscientists and engineers can work together to improve their understanding of the reservoir, leverage the latest generation of tools to model cause and effect behaviors, and quickly establish optimized field development solutions.

Statistical tools are still very useful for monitoring performance, but this data is also used to calibrate design tools to enable continuous refinement to the subsurface geocellular model and forward modeling tools. By accomplishing this, a common collaboration environment is created where both geoscientists and engineers can collaborate and work with the most current and most relevant subsurface information and knowledge. This concept has been tested in a number of proof-of-concept projects that have shown very promising results, one of which is discussed in detail in this paper.

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