Pressure Normalization of Production Rates Improves Forecasting Results
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New decline curve models have been developed to overcome the boundary-dominated flow assumption of the basic Arps’ models, which restricts their application in ultra-low permeability reservoirs exhibiting long-duration transient flow regimes. However, these new decline curve analysis (DCA) methods are still based only on production rate data, relying on the assumption of stable flowing pressure. Since this stabilized state is not reached rapidly in most cases, the applicability of these methods and the reliability of their solutions may be compromised. In addition, production performance predictions cannot be disassociated from the existing operation constraints under which production history was developed. On the other hand, DCA is often carried out without a proper identification of flow regimes. The arbitrary application of DCA models regardless of existing flow regimes may produce unrealistic production forecasts, because these models have been designed assuming specific flow regimes. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible benefits provided by including flowing pressures in production decline analysis. As a result, it have been demonstrated that decline curve analysis based on pressure-normalized rates can be used as a reliable production forecasting technique suited to interpret unconventional wells in specific situations such as unstable operating conditions, limited availability of production data (short production history) and high-pressure, rate-restricted wells. In addition, pressure-normalized DCA techniques proved to have the special ability of dissociating the estimation of future production performance from the existing operation constraints under which production history was developed. On the other hand, it was also observed than more consistent and representative flow regime interpretations may be obtained as diagnostic plots are improved by including MBT, pseudovariables (for gas wells) and pressure-normalized rates. This means that misinterpretations may occur if diagnostic plots are not applied correctly. In general, an improved forecasting ability implies greater accuracy in the production performance forecasts and more reliable reserve estimations. The petroleum industry may become more confident in reserves estimates, which are the basis for the design of development plans, investment decisions, and valuation of companies’ assets.
SubjectPressure-normalized decline curve analysis
Pressure normalized decline curve analysis
Flow regime identification
Pressure normalization of production rates
boundary dominated flow
transient flow regime
rate transient analysis
high pressure rate controlled
unstable flowing conditions.
Lacayo Ortiz, Juan Manuel (2013). Pressure Normalization of Production Rates Improves Forecasting Results. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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