Application of the Continuous EUR Method to Estimate Reserves in Unconventional Gas Reservoirs
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Reserves estimation in unconventional (low/ultra-low permeability) reservoirs has become a topic of increased interest as more of these resources are being developed, especially in North America. The estimation of reserves in unconventional reservoirs is challenging due to the long transient flow period exhibited by the production data. The use of conventional methods (i.e., Arps' decline curves) to estimate reserves is often times inaccurate and leads to the overestimation of reserves because these models are only (theoretically) applicable for the boundary-dominated flow regime. The premise of this work is to present and demonstrate a methodology which continuously estimates the ultimate recovery during the producing life of a well in order to generate a time-dependent profile of the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR). The "objective" is to estimate the final EUR value(s) from several complimentary analyses. In this work we present the "Continuous EUR Method" to estimate reserves for unconventional gas reservoirs using a rate-time analysis approach. This work offers a coherent process to reduce the uncertainty in reserves estimation for unconventional gas reservoirs by quantifying "upper" and "lower" limits of EUR prior to the onset of boundary-dominated flow. We propose the use of traditional and new rate-time relations to establish the "upper" limit for EUR. We clearly demonstrate that rate-time relations which better represent the transient and transitional flow regimes (in particular the power law exponential rate decline relation) often lead to a more accurate "upper" limit for reserves estimates — earlier in the producing life of a well (as compared to conventional ("Arps") relations). Furthermore, we propose a straight line extrapolation technique to offer a conservative estimate of maximum produced gas which we use as the "lower" limit for EUR. The EUR values estimated using this technique continually increase with time, eventually reaching a maximum value. We successfully demonstrate the methodology by applying the approach to 43 field examples producing from 7 different tight sandstone and shale gas reservoirs. We show that the difference between the "upper" and "lower" limit of reserves decreases with time and converges to the "true" value of reserves during the latter producing life of a well.
Currie, Stephanie M. (2010). Application of the Continuous EUR Method to Estimate Reserves in Unconventional Gas Reservoirs. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from