The weakness of reservoir simulations is the lack of quantity and quality of the required input; their strength is the
ability to vary one parameter at a time. Therefore, reservoir simulations are an appropriate tool to evaluate relative uncertainty but absolute forecasts can be misleading, leading to poor business decisions. As recovery processes increase in complexity, the impact of such decisions may have a major impact on the project viability. A responsible use of reservoir simulations is discussed, addressing both technical users and decision makers. The danger of creating a false confidence in forecasts and the value of simulating complex processes are demonstrated with examples. This is a call for the return of the reservoir engineer who is in control of the simulations and not controlled by them, and the decision maker who appreciates a black & white graph of a forecast with realistic uncertainties over a 3-D hologram in colour.
Daniel Yang is Petroleum Advisor at Shell Canada. Holding a PhD in Geophysics from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, he dedicated fifteen years of his oil-industry career to Enhanced Oil Recovery methods, focussing on thermal recovery and originating from ten years of research in geothermal energy. Daniel worked at Shell International, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Laricina Energy Ltd. He holds two patents, was recognized as
Subject Matter Expert in Shell, has over twenty publications, recently received a SPE Best Paper Award, and was a guest lecturer at universities in Germany, the U.S.A. and Canada.