Digitalization and intelligence are attracting increasing attention in petroleum engineering. Amounts of published research indicates modern data science has been applied in almost every corner of petroleum engineering where data generates, however, mature products are few or the performance are not up to peoples’ expectations. Despite the great success in other industries (internet, transportation, and finance, etc.), the "amazing" data science algorithms seem to be challenged when "landing" in petroleum engineering. It is time to calmly analyze current situations and discuss the methodology to apply modern data science in petroleum engineering, for safety ensuring, efficiency improvement and cost saving.
Based on the experiences of several data products in petroleum engineering and wide investigation of literatures, the methodology is summarized by answering some important questions: what is the difference between petroleum engineering and other industries and what are the greatest challenges for algorithms "landing"? how could we build a data product development team? why the machine learning models didn't work well in real world, which are derived by typical procedures in textbooks? are current artificial intelligent algorithms perfect and is there any limit? how could we deal with the relationship between prior knowledge and data-driven methods? what is the key point to keep data product competitive? Several specific scenarios are introduced as examples, such as ROP modelling, drilling parameters optimization, text mining of drilling reports and well production prediction, etc. where deep learning, traditional machine learning, incremental learning and natural language processing methods, etc. are used.
Besides detailed discussions in the paper, conclusions are summarized as: 1) the strengths and weakness of current artificial intelligence should be viewed objectively, practical suggestions to make up the weakness are provided; 2) the combination of prior knowledge (from lab tests or expert experiences) and data-driven methods are always necessary and methods for the combination are summarized; 3) data volume and solution portability are the key points to improve data product competitiveness; 4) suggestions on how to build a multi-disciplinary R&D team and how to plan a product are provided.
This paper conducts an objective analysis on challenges for modern data science applying in petroleum engineering and provides a clear methodology and specific suggestions on how to improve the success rate of R&D projects which apply data science to solve problems in petroleum engineering.