Using Decline Curve Analysis, Volumetric Analysis, and Bayesian Methodology to Quantify Uncertainty in Shale Gas Reserve Estimates



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Probabilistic decline curve analysis (PDCA) methods have been developed to quantify uncertainty in production forecasts and reserves estimates. However, the application of PDCA in shale gas reservoirs is relatively new. Limited work has been done on the performance of PDCA methods when the available production data are limited. In addition, PDCA methods have often been coupled with Arp?s equations, which might not be the optimum decline curve analysis model (DCA) to use, as new DCA models for shale reservoirs have been developed. Also, decline curve methods are based on production data only and do not by themselves incorporate other types of information, such as volumetric data. My research objective was to integrate volumetric information with PDCA methods and DCA models to reliably quantify the uncertainty in production forecasts from hydraulically fractured horizontal shale gas wells, regardless of the stage of depletion.

In this work, hindcasts of multiple DCA models coupled to different probabilistic methods were performed to determine the reliability of the probabilistic DCA methods. In a hindcast, only a portion of the historical data is matched; predictions are made for the remainder of the historical period and compared to the actual historical production. Most of the DCA models were well calibrated visually when used with an appropriate probabilistic method, regardless of the amount of production data available to match. Volumetric assessments, used as prior information, were incorporated to further enhance the calibration of production forecasts and reserves estimates when using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) as the PDCA method and the logistic growth DCA model.

The proposed combination of the MCMC PDCA method, the logistic growth DCA model, and use of volumetric data provides an integrated procedure to reliably quantify the uncertainty in production forecasts and reserves estimates in shale gas reservoirs. Reliable quantification of uncertainty should yield more reliable expected values of reserves estimates, as well as more reliable assessment of upside and downside potential. This can be particularly valuable early in the development of a play, because decisions regarding continued development are based to a large degree on production forecasts and reserves estimates for early wells in the play.