Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge

Research Fellow in “Real time optimization and control for oil production under the presence of uncertainties”

Deadline: 16.01.2020

About the position

The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences has a vacancy for a position as PhD Research Fellow in “Real time optimization and control for optimal oil production under the presence of uncertainties”. The commencement of the positon is in the period April-June, 2020. The positon is for 3 years.

University of South-Eastern Norway

University of South-Eastern Norway has about 18 000 students and about 1500 employees. The university is organized in four faculties, with instruction and R&D activities on eight campuses.

The main profile of the university is to provide socially relevant education,

geared towards specific professions, and adapted to the requirements of the workplace, as well as to produce applied research and development.

The position is at the Department of Electrical engineering, Information Technology and Cybernetics and reports to the Head of Department. The place of employment is Campus Porsgrunn, Norway.

About the PhD-project

The project relates to oil production optimization from large oil fields for achieving optimal profitability. The main goal of the project is to develop new algorithms for co-ordinating and optimizing control with explicit handling of operational uncertainties.

During the production of oil from the reservoir, various factors should be taken into account in order to determine how much oil should be produced, and how different oil wells should be operated and co-ordinated. Short-term production optimization should include uncertainty in the maket prices, as well as uncertainty in the state of the oil fields (including short-term reservoir dynamics). The project will look into how control relevant models for short-term dynamics can be used for large scale optimal control of the oil field with uncertainty handling, e.g., by profit vs. risk balancing or multi objective optimization problems with conflicting objectives etc. For real time optimization and control, hierarchy-decomposition, co-ordinated control with steady state/dynamic optimizer, etc. can be studied.

Over time, as more and more oil is produced from the reservoir, the characteristic properties of the reservoir changes. Thus, model adaptation should be introduced to handle long-term model changes. This project will also look into how the optimal and co-ordinated control strategies can be adapted online to account for short-term uncertainties while also applying such strategies over the life-time of the oil field.

Various case studies should be performed in order to test or simulate the optimal control and production optimization strategies/hypothesis. This may include various types of oil production techniques such as a gas lifted oil field, electrical submersible pump lifted oil field, water flooded oil field, etc. Concrete case studies in connection to real time production optimizatoin can also be decided upon by supervisors, in coordination with industrial partners (Equinor) and with input from the candidate.

For the successful completion of the project, the candidate should have prior knowledge in control engineering (process control) and mathematical optimization related to process optimization. This allows the candidate to immediately start researching on optimal control and real time optimization under the presence of uncertainties. It is also necessary for the candidate to develop mechanistic models of dynamic systems (for example: short-term reservoir dynamics, etc.). Thus, prior knowledge in modelling of dynamic systems will be an added advantage. In addition, any prior knowledge in stochastic control or robust control can also be an added advantage.

There is a possibility that the position will be integrated in a larger project, and if so there will be some co-operation within the larger project.

As part of the PhD work, publications are important, and efficient communication in English is therefore necessary. The research work will take place at the University of South-Eastern Norway, Campus Porsgrunn.

Appointment is for a period of three years. The position does not include teaching duties.


Applicants to the PhD position must have a Master’s degree or equivalent higher education qualifications in engineering/technology with solid knowledge within (i) Engineering cybernetics or control engineering, (ii) Mathematical optimization, (iii) Modeling of dynamic systems, (iv) Model based control, (v) Programming in MATLAB, Python or similar. Applicants with Master’s degree or equivalent higher education in Physics and Applied Mathematics with some background in process control are also qualified to apply for the position. In addition, applicants should have knowledge in state and parameter estimation principles. Background in petroleum technology, especially in connection with process control and optimization can be an added advantage. It is a requirement that the candidate has an average grade B or better from the Master’s degree. The applicant must have gained the degree within the start date of the position, so applicants in the last semester of their master degre

It is a requirement that the successful applicant is granted admission to the university’s doctoral programme in Process, Energy and Automation Engineering.

Co-operation between staff members is an integrated part of the working atmosphere at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The candidate must be motivated and demonstrate a proven ability to work effectively within a team and in a collegiate manner to formulate and realise common objectives.

Personal suitability for the position will be emphasized.

Good command of oral and written English is required. Experience with publishing papers is an advantage.

We offer

  • A professionally stimulating working environment.
  • Good opportunities to develop your career and your academic skills
  • A good social environment
  • Attractive welfare benefits in the State Pension Plan
  • Opportunity for physical activities within working hours


PhD Research Fellow (code 1017): NOK 479 600 a year. Further promotion will be based on service in the position. In special cases, employment in code 1378 may be considered. Salary NOK 479 600 – 600 200 a year. A statutory contribution will be made from the employee’s salary to the state pension plan.

Other information

Appointment to the position will be carried out by The Appointments Board for PhD Research Fellows. An expert assessment of applicants will be carried out. Short-listed candidates will be called in for interviews and must be prepared to present and discuss their projects.

The successful applicant must comply with the laws, regulations and agreements that apply to the position. As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

There are few women employed in research positions at the Department, and consequently women are especially encouraged to apply.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information act § 25 2 paragraph, information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, even though the applicant has requested non-disclosure. The applicant will be informed if his/her request has been declined.

Contact information

For further information concerning the position please contact:

  • Assoc. Prof. Roshan Sharma ([email protected]), tlf: +47 35575117 at the Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences, Department of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Cybernetics or
  • Prof. Bernt Lie ([email protected]) tlf: +47 35575169 at the Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences, Department of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Cybernetics

How to apply

University of South-Eastern Norway uses online applications. We therefore ask applicants to register their application and CV online by clicking on the “Send application” link to the right. The application must include the following documents:

  • Certified diplomas and certificates from university college/university
  • Master’s thesis
  • A 5-page (maximum) project description
  • Any scientific publications and a list of these
  • Three references (contact information)

Please note that all documents must be translated into English or a Scandinavian language by an authorized translator.

Send application