In oil and gas industry, production optimization is a viable technique to maximize the recovery or the net present value (NPV). Robust optimization is one type of production optimization techniques where the geological uncertainty of reservoir is considered. When well operating conditions, e.g., well flow rates settings of inflow control valves and bottom-hole pressures, are the optimization variables, ensemble-based optimization (EnOpt) is the most popular ensemble-based algorithm for the robust life-cycle production optimization. Recently, a superior algorithm, stochastic simplex approximate gradient (StoSAG), was proposed. Fonseca and co-workers (2016, A Stochastic Simplex Approximate Gradient (StoSAG) for Optimization Under Uncertainty, Int. J. Numer. Methods Eng., 109(13), pp. 1756–1776) provided a theoretical argument on the superiority of StoSAG over EnOpt. However, it has not drawn significant attention in the reservoir optimization community. The purpose of this study is to provide a refined theoretical discussion on why StoSAG is generally superior to EnOpt and to provide a reasonable example (Brugge field) where StoSAG generates estimates of optimal well operating conditions that give a life-cycle NPV significantly higher than the NPV obtained from EnOpt.

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