Epistemic Challenges for Subsurface Engineering, Part II: Creating Value with a Hypothesis-Driven Workflow
How can we reconsider our approach to subsurface engineering in order to evaluate claims of truth and drive long-term value? I propose a hypothesis-driven approach, in which field testing is placed at the center of our efforts to assess the truth and improve over time. Physics-based and data-driven approaches are used as hypothesis-generating activities that motivate and prioritize hypothesis testing through field operations. Effective field testing requires the coordination of operations to enable clean well-to-well production comparisons and the design of data collection to enable strongly supported conclusions. Field testing need not increase the cost of field operations if it is done through intentional and thoughtful planning.