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How Oil & Gas is Solving Technological Limitations of Complex Reservoir Simulation with CMG and AWS

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By Jason Close, Manager, Strategic Relationships at Computer Modelling Group Ltd.

Worldwide energy demand continues to increase, especially in several developing nations such as China and India. To meet demand, oil and gas companies are looking beyond “easy oil” to unlock resources from more complex reservoirs.

By combining technological innovation with advanced recovery techniques, companies are successfully increasing production. However, this often comes with a cost in the form of bigger and more complex reservoir models. Many organizations simply do not have the technological capabilities or compute power to successfully power large simulations or optimization projects.

To solve this growing challenge, companies are turning to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to maximize computational capacities. Finding and applying the best reservoir simulation tools to work within a cloud environment enables engineers to harness the best technology with the latest hardware specifications.

Computer Modelling Group Ltd. (CMG) is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner that delivers a revolutionary cloud solution for the oil and gas industry. Our solution provides engineers with faster simulation runs, giving them time to focus on reservoir and project analysis.

In this post, I will introduce you to CMG, the concept of reservoir simulation, and how our cloud solutions help companies address the challenges of balancing larger and more complex reservoirs with limited budgets and compute power.

Why Should You Simulate?

Reservoir simulation allows companies to test and try different recovery processes before embarking on expensive field work. This can help maximize production and directly impact the bottom line. Reservoir simulation provides several immediate and long-term benefits:

  • It’s more economical to investigate multiple scenarios, forecast production, and optimize well development schemes before implementing an expensive drilling plan.
  • Engineers are able to recover more hydrocarbons while lowering production costs.
  • Using a well-defined and optimized field development strategy, engineers can minimize field and economical risks.
  • Engineers can accurately predict the ultimate recovery for any type of reservoir, including unconventional or tight oil/gas reservoirs.

Why Partner with CMG?

CMG is a leading independent supplier of dynamic reservoir simulation technologies that delivers fast answers from complex reservoirs with easy-to-use products and workflows. For more than 40 years, CMG has continually pushed the boundaries of reservoir simulation to exceed customer expectations.

Reservoir Simulation

CMG is internationally recognized as a leader in reservoir simulation technologies. Our customers share their strategic directions with us, which leads to more industry collaboration and the continuous improvement and adoption of CMG software.

For example, the evolution of CMOST AI to include direct cloud access showcases how CMG continues to improve software to meet our customers’ evolving needs. Within the CMOST AI interface, engineers can directly upload jobs to the AWS Cloud.

In the latest release of CMOST AI, the Bayesian engine has been parallelized. This allows numerous jobs to be processed simultaneously, while also training the proxy faster for better optimization. As a result, engineers are able to directly harness scalable computing to get solutions faster, reduce uncertainty, and increase reservoir understanding.

Focus on Research & Development (R&D)

CMG reinvests 20 percent of its annual revenue back into R&D to further innovation in the simulation of advanced recovery processes. With more than 50 percent of its employees dedicated to R&D, CMG stays at the forefront in simulating new recovery methods and developing innovative methods to overcome existing technological barriers.

Focus on Customer Experience

We have a renowned global training and support network that advances knowledge transfer to our customers, so they can derive maximum value and reduce risk through the expert use of CMG technology. With more than 400 years of combined experience, CMG’s support engineers provide leading software support.

Building on CMG’s collaborative relationship with customers, our cloud solution is a direct response to customers’ experience managing and incorporating the large amounts of data into a reservoir project.

CMOST AI Changes the Spectrum

CMOST AI extends oil and gas companies’ capabilities and potential to improve business decisions and processes. It does this by identifying the best solution through a combination of advanced statistical analysis, machine learning, and non-biased data interpretation with engineering expertise.

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By minimizing engineering time via automation and advanced optimization engines, engineers are able to improve reservoir knowledge and manage risk in new and unique ways. By harnessing scalable computing in the cloud, engineers get solutions faster, reduce uncertainty, and understand their reservoir in ways that were not previously possible.

Engineers are able to conduct deeper, more insightful analysis with CMOST AI’s experimental design and advanced algorithms in the following four areas

Know the Reservoir

Automatically incorporating all geological uncertainties into a model can be challenging. The elastic computing in CMOST AI allows engineers to run hundreds of simulations, generate graphical representations of the most influential parameters, and quickly answer the “what-ifs” with reservoir property sliders and real-time production curve updates. Ultimately, this helps engineers analyze the data and make better business decisions faster.

Augmented Intelligence History Matching (HM)

Engineers can create and assemble the best options with CMOST AI’s advanced calculation engines: CMG DECE, CMG Bayesian Engine, Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO), Differential Evolution (DE), and Latin Hypercube plus proxy. It’s never been easier to find optimal solutions and analyze the reservoir and recovery processes with assisted HM.

Optimization Helps Drive Better Business Decisions

With CMOST AI, you can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to find the optimal solution using the fewest runs possible. Quickly run thousands of cases to assess HM variability or field optimization and the associated probabilities identifying an optimum (global optima) development plan or operating conditions.

Manage Risk

Maximize the probability of success and lower risk with the automated Robust Optimization workflows. CMG’s PAR defines posterior probability density function by using “misfit” simulation results and measured production data.

In conjunction with RBF or Neural Network proxy models, multiple history matched scenario models can be used to generate P10, P50, and P90 forecasts for field applications. Engineers can combine this with advanced analytics and graphical output to accurately predict probability of reservoir success with reduced risk.

Benefits of Cloud Enablement

As more companies begin to embrace reservoir simulation in the cloud, they’ll be able to harness the best of CMG technology through the AWS offering. The combination of these tools enables engineers to execute workloads that weren’t previously practical, and add further value to their organization.

CMG’s cloud allows engineers to securely access IMEX, GEM, and STARS from anywhere in the world, on hardware optimized for maximum efficiency. With cloud, engineers can comfortably work with multi-million gridblock datasets without any lag or slowdown in productivity.

Additional benefits of running a reservoir simulation job on AWS include scalability, access to hardware and software, data security, and remote access.


The key characteristic of the cloud is flexibility by virtue of scalability. Traditional monolithic architectures are hard to scale and complex to update and maintain. CMG leverages AWS to build a solution using microservice architecture. Each component runs as its own services, scales independently, and communicates via a well-defined API.

As a result, engineers can easily scale resources up or down to meet current demand while negating the need for capital intensive purchases. The flexibility of AWS is particularly appealing to consultants and smaller operators, where software and hardware demand comes in ebbs and flows.

Access to Latest Hardware and Software

Hardware technology evolves rapidly, with significantly enhanced architecture and processors available each year. For many companies, annual or biannual IT upgrades are impractical. While at the same time, simulation models are becoming more complex and some aging infrastructure struggles to keep up. The cloud provides near infinite access to the industry’s best hardware and latest software releases.

Data Security

Reservoir simulation is not only about data calculation but securely storing the data as well. Cloud security is the highest priority at AWS, and they use an end-to-end approach to secure and harden the infrastructure, including physical, operational, and software measures.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is 99.999999999% durable and provides CMG customers with reliable long-term data repositories while using Amazon S3 Server Side Encryption (SSE) to ensure object-level encryption. This is combined with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to provide granular data control.

AWS’ worldwide distribution of data centers deliver “5-9s” communication to ensure customers have reliable access to their data. On top of AWS’ built-in security measures, CMG’s cloud solution includes two-factor authentication to ensure privacy and security of all corporate data.

Remote Access

Multi-disciplinary collaboration is key to ensuring the success of a reservoir asset. The cloud allows engineers from all around the world to collaborate on projects together by removing project limitations within the global oil and gas community.

CMG + AWS = Limitless Simulation

CMG and AWS provide the oil and gas industry the tools to accelerate reservoir simulation projects and customer data management. The AWS Serverless Platform lets CMG build and run applications without thinking about servers.

There’s no server provisioning or management required, and everything necessary to run and scale CMG’s application with high-availability is handled by AWS.

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To ensure CMG’s cloud solution remains innovative and best-of-breed, CMG leverages many AWS services:

  • Amazon Cognito: CMG employs Cognito to securely configure and manage user-authentication, authorization, and access to CMG’s cloud.
  • AWS Lambda: By off-loading server management through Lambda, CMG deploys each server component on their own, scaling continuously according to demand as usage prediction is not required to set capacity. In addition, the built-in fault tolerance provides predictable and reliable operational performance.
  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR): CMG’s computationally intensive simulation engine is configured into a container and delivers environmental consistency, operational efficiency, and an additional layer of security. CMG uses ECR to store, manage, and deploy container images. The service is integrated with Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), which simplifies CMG’s development to production workflow.
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2): The dynamic delivery of Amazon EC2 instances based on volume and resource requirements of submitted jobs frees CMG from the constraints of fixed-capacity clusters. This allows engineers to focus on analyzing results and solving problems.
  • Amazon DynamoDB: DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that supports tables of virtually any size with horizontal scaling. It’s built for mission-critical workloads, including support for ACID transactions for a broad set of applications that require complex business logic. DynamoDB helps secure CMG data with encryption and continuously backs up data for protection.
  • AWS Batch: This service schedules jobs and scales Amazon EC2 instances up or down.
  • Amazon AppStream 2.0: CMG securely delivers pre- and post-simulation visualization applications (Builder and Results) to any computer, at any time, with AppStream 2.0. Engineers using AppStream 2.0 can achieve a fluid and responsive user experience, plus secure access to their data and CMG’s software.

CMG’s Cloud Architecture

CMG’s cloud architecture is designed to provide seamless reservoir simulation services, using the latest AWS architecture. Users are able to submit simulation jobs to the CMG Public Cloud using one of three methods—single-page web application, CMOST-AI, or the CMG Cloud Desktop App—which will confirm that the data is available to upload.

Once the data is validated and encrypted, it’s sent to an Amazon S3 bucket where the AWS Batch job scheduler is notified and a node, or group of nodes, are accessed. At the same time, relevant data is provided to a DynamoDB table for job submission tracking and management.

Upon completion of these simultaneous steps, each job runs as a containerized application on an appointed node with results stored locally and in Amazon S3. When the run is finished, the files are re-encrypted and persisted to Amazon S3, and the user is notified by email or app verification. If there are no additional jobs in the Batch queue, the node will be cleaned and released.

By using the latest AWS services, CMG has designed this architecture to securely optimize its customers usage of cloud technology.

Customer Stories

CMG Simulations-3The Permian basin, located in Texas and New Mexico, is one of the most prolific oil and natural gas basins in the United States. For close to 100 years, E&P companies have been exploiting the basin’s resources using a variety of recovery mechanisms and techniques to maximize production.

One of CMG’s customers who is active in this basin uses reservoir simulation for its forecasting and field development planning. This workflow is heavily dominated by sensitivity, optimization, and uncertainty analysis, all of which requires a large volume of simulation runs to be completed.

Our customer maintains an on-premises hardware solution for day-to-day simulation work. The integration of CMOST AI with cloud technology enables the company to combine on-demand simulation service with limitless state-of-the-art hardware to run its CMOST AI workflows quickly and efficiently.

Another example is from a Canadian-based company that has successfully implemented CMG’s cloud solution to maximize budget constraints while increasing its usage of CMG software.

The customer’s on-premises compute center was not meeting the growing demands of the company’s large simulation user base. However, the IT department didn’t have any available budget to expand the center. CMG converted the on-premises annuitized license agreement into a monthly cloud agreement, thereby allowing the company to access additional budget from the business units.

As a result, the customer’s simulation usage has grown by 33 percent. In addition, now that it has the capacity and scalability to access additional CMG tools, the company is looking at investing in CMOST AI for forecasting and optimization.


The primary challenges facing the oil and gas industry are limited on-premises compute power, budget constraints, and data-intensive simulation projects. To address these constraints while also meeting the rising global energy demand, many oil and gas companies are investigating several technological advancements.

Reservoir simulation and optimization play a major role in the race to maximize resources while ensuring high return on investment. By using CMG’s simulation software, companies are able to determine accurate forecast production and design optimal field development plans, thereby maximizing the extraction of resources from complex reservoirs.

To address the challenge of limited compute power, the AWS Cloud provides oil and gas companies the opportunity to be more efficient and cost-effective while providing access to leading hardware and software solutions. CMG’s cloud solution is flexible and designed specifically for an organization’s specific needs.

By removing technological barriers and adapting to a limitless and dynamic work environment, the oil and gas industry will meet, if not exceed, world energy demands.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.


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Computer Modeling Group Ltd. (CMG) – APN Partner Spotlight

CMG is an APN Advanced Technology Partner. Serving the oil and gas industry, they are a leading supplier of advanced process reservoir modelling software with a blue chip customer base of international oil companies and technology centers in approximately 60 countries.

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