The state-of-the-art simulation software QASR delivers a powerful tool for the oil and gas industry to optimise reservoir performance

Signalling a major advancement in optimising oil and gas recovery and exploration in Qatar, the region, and the world’s complex reservoirs, the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) is the first academic institution in the world to develop and simulate a 1.014 billion computational cell model for giant oil and gas fields.

Computer simulation allows petroleum engineers and geoscientists to model the dynamic behaviour of hydrocarbons in their subsurface reservoirs and lets them reliably manage and predict future performance.

CSE researchers developed a reservoir simulation software, QASR (Qatari Advanced Simulations for Reservoirs), that accurately mimics the petroleum fluid flow at the earth’s subsurface reservoirs while using the most advanced technologies.

HBKU CSE QASR 3This billion-cell model was able to forecast oil and gas production for a giant oil and gas field with as many as 540 well connections for a period of 15 years. The simulation, which would take years without a supercomputer, was completed in just under 36 hours of simulation time – a major feat in view of the complexity of the physical phenomena involved. The team used 115 nodes and 4,600 cores to run the calculations, deploying the vast computational power of supercomputers at HBKU’s Salam Cluster.

The in-house simulation software is funded by CSE and by a generous research grant from Qatar National Research Fund under its flagship National Priorities Research Program. Dr Ahmad Sami Abushaikha, associate professor at the CSE Division of Sustainable Development, headed the initiative.

Reservoir simulation and strategic investments

Simulation models are routinely used by Qatar’s oil and gas companies to predict how to extract oil and gas or to develop an optimal production strategy based on the physics and petrophysical properties of the subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. Reservoir simulation is crucial for assessing the economics of any reservoir development project under different drilling and operating scenarios and making strategic investments.

Higher stakes amid a new era of growth for Qatar’s oil and gas industry have increased the demand for models that can rapidly simulate hundreds of millions of reservoir cells – an ability now possible with QASR. There are only four reservoir simulators in the world that can simulate a billion-cell model for giant fields. They are developed by large-scale international companies, including Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, Schlumberger, and Stone Ridge Technology. Although these simulators are present in the oil and gas industry, QASR is the only one that exists in academia.

QASR surpasses currently available simulators by including several new features and functionalities. Using software, physics, and advanced numerical schemes, QASR can predict the hydrocarbon flow more accurately than models used in standard practice. Importantly, the simulator is tailored to the specific geological and physical characteristics of oil and gas fields in Qatar and the region, an important factor given the carbonate nature of the country’s reservoirs.

HBKU CSE QASR 1Once put into use by oil and gas companies, engineers will be able to model the giant oil and gas fields of the Middle East and in turn, save millions of dollars with more precise field development strategies. A second, very important use, will be to model carbon dioxide sequestration projects to store millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases in depleted reservoirs which will have massive environmental benefits. Moreover, it can be deployed to assess the feasibility of emerging technologies such as blue hydrogen.

This project is ideally suited for Qatar and the GCC economies where more than 50% of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves are stored. It has a huge international market with an oil and gas economy worth around US$7 trillion and an expanding data analytics market of over US$25 billion.

Visit cse.hbku.edu.qa to learn more about CSE. For more information about the QASR software and the research team’s activities, visit qasr.qa.


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