The 21st century challenges of the oil and gas industry include enhancing recovery from mature reservoirs, and defy conventional engineering approaches. The generation, storage and distribution of zero-carbon energy efficiently, responsibly and safely demand optimisation of new and complex processes.
Advances in technology alone are not sufficient. In fact, they can add further layers of complexity: for example, ‘smart’ well technology has increased the information flow into the production control room to the point where the ability of the operators to utilise it can be critically compromised — at a time when the industry is under increasing regulatory scrutiny and public criticism.
Working in a close relationship with major oil and gas operators, ThinkTank Maths tackles these emerging challenges through a new mathematical lens.
Enhanced recovery strategies — increasingly strategic for mature oil fields such as those in the North Sea — require a new understanding of hydrocarbon reservoir behaviour to be successful. In the context of the mathematical foundations of reservoir modelling, seismic data interpretation and history matching, TTM is creating novel representations that efficiently capture the variability of rock formations and reduce both computational effort and uncertainty.
Applications of ThinkTank Maths’ Trusted Reasoning Architecture (TRA™) in the oil and gas sector range from automated drilling geosteering in the Ekofisk field in Norway and fast-loop production control to system-level situation awareness. Decision aids based on this architecture help to avoid the risk of information overload, enabling human operators to focus on the most critical decisions, with significant advantages in terms of cost, safety and environmental impact.
The success of the energy transition requires economic repurposing of oil and gas assets and multi-party energy value chains to link oil and gas offshore facilities to renewable energy systems. For example, the use of wind turbines to power a subsea compression system and CO2 or hydrogen sequestration injection and assured storage in depleted reservoirs. However, creating such value chains that are both technically and economically viable is a complex problem that calls for a novel, systemic approach. TTM is currently developing mathematical foundations for digital systems architectures that can to resolve such conflicting priorities.
Intelligent mathematics underpins most of today’s energy activities — the complex task of generating, storing and managing the distribution of new energy resources efficiently, responsibly and safely demands radical mathematical reformulation of current technologies, and the creation of completely new processes.