Performance Analysis & Optimization of Well Production in Unconventional Resource Plays



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The Unconventional Resource Plays consisting of the lowest tier of resources (large volumes and most difficult to develop) have been the main focus of US domestic activity during recent times. Horizontal well drilling and hydraulic fracturing completion technology have been primarily responsible for this paradigm shift.

The concept of drainage volume is being examined using pressure diffusion along streamlines. We use diffusive time of flight to optimize the number of hydraulic fracture stages in horizontal well application for Tight Gas reservoirs. Numerous field case histories are available in literature for optimizing number of hydraulic fracture stages, although the conclusions are case specific. In contrast, a general method is being presented that can be used to augment field experiments necessary to optimize the number of hydraulic fracture stages. The optimization results for the tight gas example are in line with the results from economic analysis.

The fluid flow simulation for Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (NFR) is performed by Dual-Permeability or Dual-Porosity formulations. Microseismic data from Barnett Shale well is used to characterize the hydraulic fracture geometry. Sensitivity analysis, uncertainty assessment, manual & computer assisted history matching are integrated to develop a comprehensive workflow for building reliable reservoir simulation models. We demonstrate that incorporating proper physics of flow is the first step in building reliable reservoir simulation models. Lack of proper physics often leads to unreasonable reservoir parameter estimates. The workflow demonstrates reduced non-uniqueness for the inverse history matching problem.

The behavior of near-critical fluids in Liquid Rich Shale plays defies the production behavior observed in conventional reservoir systems. In conventional reservoirs an increased gas-oil ratio is observed as flowing bottom-hole pressure is less than the saturation pressure. The production behavior is examined by building a compositional simulation model on an Eagle Ford well. Extremely high pressure drop along the multiple transverse hydraulic fractures and high critical gas saturation are responsible for this production behavior. Integrating pore-scale flow modeling (such as Lattice Boltzmann) to the field-scale reservoir simulation may enable quantifying the effects of high capillary pressure and phase behavior alteration due to confinement in the nano-pore system.