Application of the Stretched Exponential Production Decline Model to Forecast Production in Shale Gas Reservoirs
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Production forecasting in shale (ultra-low permeability) gas reservoirs is of great interest due to the advent of multi-stage fracturing and horizontal drilling. The well renowned production forecasting model, Arps? Hyperbolic Decline Model, is widely used in industry to forecast shale gas wells. Left unconstrained, the model often overestimates reserves by a great deal. A minimum decline rate is imposed to prevent overestimation of reserves but with less than ten years of production history available to analyze, an accurate minimum decline rate is currently unknown; an educated guess of 5% minimum decline is often imposed. Other decline curve models have been proposed with the theoretical advantage of being able to match linear flow followed by a transition to boundary dominated flow. This thesis investigates the applicability of the Stretched Exponential Production Decline Model (SEPD) and compares it to the industry standard, Arps' with a minimum decline rate. When possible, we investigate an SEPD type curve. Simulated data is analyzed to show advantages of the SEPD model and provide a comparison to Arps' model with an imposed minimum decline rate of 5% where the full production history is known. Long-term production behavior is provided by an analytical solution for a homogenous reservoir with homogenous hydraulic fractures. Various simulations from short-term linear flow (~1 year) to long-term linear flow (~20 years) show the ability of the models to handle onset of boundary dominated flow at various times during production history. SEPD provides more accurate reserves estimates when linear flow ends at 5 years or earlier. Both models provide sufficient reserves estimates for longer-term linear flow scenarios. Barnett Shale production data demonstrates the ability of the models to forecast field data. Denton and Tarrant County wells are analyzed as groups and individually. SEPD type curves generated with 2004 well groups provide forecasts for wells drilled in subsequent years. This study suggests a type curve is most useful when 24 months or less is available to forecast. The SEPD model generally provides more conservative forecasts and EUR estimates than Arps' model with a minimum decline rate of 5%.
Statton, James Cody (2012). Application of the Stretched Exponential Production Decline Model to Forecast Production in Shale Gas Reservoirs. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from