ANZIAM  J.  45 (2004), 401-422
Maximising output from oil reservoirs without water breakthrough

S. K. Lucas
  School of Mathematics and Statistics
  University of South Australia
  Mawson Lakes SA 5095

Often in oil reservoirs a layer of water lies under the layer of oil. The suction pressure due to a distribution of oil wells will cause the oil-water interface to rise up towards the wells. Given a particular distribution of oil wells, we are interested in finding the flow rates of each well that maximise the total flow rate without the interface breaking through to the wells. A method for finding optimal flow rates is developed using the Muskat model to approximate the interface height, and a version of the Nelder-Mead simplex method for optimisation. A variety of results are presented, including the perhaps nonintuitive result that it is better to turn off some oil wells when they are sufficiently close to one another.
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