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Article

Can Agents Model Hydrocarbon Migration for Petroleum System Analysis? A Fast Screening Tool to De-Risk Hydrocarbon Prospects

1
Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering (IGE), Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
2
Studio X LLC, Austin, TX 78702, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Min Wang
Energies 2022, 15(3), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030902
Received: 30 June 2021 / Revised: 24 December 2021 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 26 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Data Science in Reservoir Modelling Workflows)
Understanding subsurface hydrocarbon migration is a crucial task for petroleum geoscientists. Hydrocarbons are released from deeply buried and heated source rocks, such as shales with a high organic content. They then migrate upwards through the overlying lithologies. Some hydrocarbon becomes trapped in suitable geological structures that, over a geological timescale, produce viable hydrocarbon reservoirs. This work investigates how intelligent agent models can mimic these complex natural subsurface processes and account for geological uncertainty. Physics-based approaches are commonly used in petroleum system modelling and flow simulation software to identify migration pathways from source rocks to traps. However, the problem with these simulations is that they are computationally demanding, making them infeasible for extensive uncertainty quantification. In this work, we present a novel dynamic screening tool for secondary hydrocarbon migration that relies on agent-based modelling. It is fast and is therefore suitable for uncertainty quantification, before using petroleum system modelling software for a more accurate evaluation of migration scenarios. We first illustrate how interacting but independent agents can mimic the movement of hydrocarbon molecules using a few simple rules by focusing on the main drivers of migration: buoyancy and capillary forces. Then, using a synthetic case study, we validate the usefulness of the agent modelling approach to quantify the impact of geological parameter uncertainty (e.g., fault transmissibility, source rock location, expulsion rate) on potential hydrocarbon accumulations and migrations pathways, an essential task to enable quick de-risking of a likely prospect. View Full-Text
Keywords: agent-based modelling; hydrocarbon migration; Go with the Flow; uncertainty quantification; decision making; petroleum system modelling; conceptual modelling agent-based modelling; hydrocarbon migration; Go with the Flow; uncertainty quantification; decision making; petroleum system modelling; conceptual modelling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Steffens, B.; Corlay, Q.; Suurmeyer, N.; Noglows, J.; Arnold, D.; Demyanov, V. Can Agents Model Hydrocarbon Migration for Petroleum System Analysis? A Fast Screening Tool to De-Risk Hydrocarbon Prospects. Energies 2022, 15, 902. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030902

AMA Style

Steffens B, Corlay Q, Suurmeyer N, Noglows J, Arnold D, Demyanov V. Can Agents Model Hydrocarbon Migration for Petroleum System Analysis? A Fast Screening Tool to De-Risk Hydrocarbon Prospects. Energies. 2022; 15(3):902. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030902

Chicago/Turabian Style

Steffens, Bastian, Quentin Corlay, Nathan Suurmeyer, Jessica Noglows, Dan Arnold, and Vasily Demyanov. 2022. "Can Agents Model Hydrocarbon Migration for Petroleum System Analysis? A Fast Screening Tool to De-Risk Hydrocarbon Prospects" Energies 15, no. 3: 902. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15030902

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