The Digital Well Twin is a foundational element of Production Enterprise. It is a virtual replica (or model) of the physical well that is able to reflect the asset’s configuration and context, and its historical and current states and conditions. It can be used to generate and test inferences about current and future behaviors.
- Live – working with streaming production data to mirror the operational cadence of the well, and to sense, alert and respond at the earliest opportunity to defer or avoid sub-optimal performance or downtime.
- Intelligent – using the wealth of data and its internal model to infer hidden parameters of the well, predict and diagnose behaviors, and identify opportunities for optimisation.
Whereas the models underlying most Digital Twins can draw from a robust scientific and engineering explanation of how their real-world counterpart should behave and why, and from technology that can measure real-world behavior in accordance with modelling needs, this is simply not the case for Digital Twins of subsurface assets such as wells. In most cases, a computational physics-based model of a well is limited in fidelity and utility by our inability to measure all required real world properties with sufficient accuracy and with adequate spatial or temporal resolution. The resulting model can only suggest plausible explanations for observed behaviours, and inferences can only be made subject to these inherent unknowns and uncertainties. Under such conditions, model results and their fidelity must be interpreted in a wider context guided by the experience of the expert surveillance engineer.
The innovation within our Digital Well Twin is the way we tackle this problem. Firstly, our Digital Well Twin embodies a Hybrid Well Model which is a physics-based well model extended with machine learning techniques. This is a new type of well model specifically designed for semi-autonomous use in a surveillance system - for example self-tuning to changing local conditions and supporting automatic recalibration. Secondly, by embedding it within Production Enterprise, we deliver a Digital Well Twin that can evolve under the guidance of the surveillance engineer to provide the best possible support for production surveillance and optimisation.
The Hybrid Well Model is an ongoing research activity being undertaken in collaboration with the Industrially Focused Mathematical Modelling Centre for Doctoral Training at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford (InfoMM CDT). Its aim is to couple innovations in mathematical modelling, computational fluid dynamics and data sciences to create robust models for the Digital Well Twin and ultimately for a Digital Field Twin.