Water coning in petroleum reservoirs leads to lower well productivity and higher operational costs. Adequate knowledge of coning phenomena and breakthrough time is essential to overcome this issue. A series of experiments using fractured porous media models were conducted to investigate the effects of production process and pore structure characteristics on water coning. In addition, a hybrid artificial neural network (ANN) with particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm was applied to predict breakthrough time of water coning as a function of production rate and physical model properties. Data from the literature combined with experimental data generated in this study were used to develop and verify the ANN-PSO model. A good correlation was found between the predicted and real data sets having an absolute maximum error percentage less than 9%. The developed ANN-PSO model is able to estimate breakthrough time and critical production rate with higher accuracy compared to the conventional or back propagation (BP) ANN (ANN-BP) and common correlations. The presence of vertical fractures was found to accelerate considerably the water coning phenomena during oil production. Results of this study using combined data suggest the potential application of ANN-PSO in predicting the water breakthrough time and critical production rate that are critical in designing and evaluating production strategies for naturally fractured reservoirs. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 1905–1919, 2014
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