Gas wells in low-permeability formations usually require hydraulic fracturing to be commercially viable. Pressure transient analysis in hydraulically fractured tight gas wells is commonly based on analysis of three flow regimes: bilinear, linear, and pseudoradial. Without the presence of pseudoradial flow, neither reservoir permeability nor fracture half-length can be independently estimated. In practice, as pseudoradial flow is often absent, the resulting estimation is uncertain and unreliable. On the other hand, elliptical flow, which exists between linear flow and pseudoradial flow, is of long duration (typically months to years). We can acquire much rate and pressure data during this flow regime, but no practical well test analysis technique is currently available to interpret these data.
This paper presents a new approach to reliably estimate reservoir and hydraulic fracture properties from analysis of pressure data obtained during the elliptical flow period. The method is applicable to estimate fracture half-length, formation permeability, and skin factor independently for both infinite- and finite-conductivity fractures. It is iterative and features rapid convergence. The method can estimate formation permeability when pseudoradial flow does not exist. Coupled with stable deconvolution technology, which converts variable production-rate and pressure measurements into an equivalent constant-rate pressure drawdown test, this method can provide fracture-property estimates from readily available, noisy production data. We present synthetic and field examples to illustrate the procedures and demonstrate the validity and applicability of the proposed approach.