Optimizing unconventional field development requires simultaneous optimization of well spacing and completion design. However, the conventional practice of using cross plots and sensitivity analysis via Monte Carlo simulations for independent optimization of well spacing and completion design has proved inadequate for unconventional reservoirs. This is due to the inability of cross plots to capture non-linear cross-correlations between parameters affecting hydrocarbon production, and the computational expense and difficulty of Monte Carlo simulations. Recently, automated machine learning (AutoML) workflows have been used to tackle complex problems. However, applying AutoML workflows to engineering problems presents unique challenges, as achieving high accuracy in forecasting the physics of the problem is crucial. To address this issue, a new physics-informed AutoML workflow based on the TPOT open-source tool developed that guarantees the physical plausibility of the optimum model while minimizing human bias and uncertainty. The workflow has been implemented in a Marcellus Shale reservoir with over 1500 wells to determine the optimal well spacing and completion design parameters for both the field and each well. The results show that using a shorter stage length and a higher sand-to-water ratio is preferable for this field, as it can increase cumulative gas production by up to 8%. Additionally, it is observed that fifty-percentile cumulative gas predictions are in close agreement with actual field productions.
Thematic collection: This article is part of the Digitally enabled geoscience workflows: unlocking the power of our data collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/topic/collections/digitally-enabled-geoscience-workflows