The post-treatment performance of hydraulically fractured wells has been a recurring theme in the petroleum literature, covering the spectrum of understanding the physics of flow to the optimization of design. Optimization itself has taken different hues meaning comprehensive economic, or just the reduction of execution costs, or the maximization of the production or injection rates.
Irrespective of the ultimate criterion, the magnitude of the reservoir permeability has been central to the fracture morphology. Long fractures are warranted for low-permeability reservoirs; wide but short fractures are indicated for high-permeability formations. For a given reservoir of known permeability and dimensions the mass of proppant injected to the pay describes a unique and constant proppant number for which a maximum well productivity index can be achieved at the optimum dimensionless fracture conductivity. The proppant number and the optimum dimensionless fracture conductivity determine exclusively the optimum fracture dimensions.
However, damaged hydraulic fracture performance deviates substantially from that of undamaged fractures. Two types of damage are considered, fracture face, often caused by fluid leakoff into the reservoir and choke fracture, which is caused by proppant flow-back, over-displacement or polymer damage. These damages, described by skin effects cause a departure, at times substantial, from the indicated undamaged optimum fracture geometry.
In this work, the performance of a fractured well is calculated using a direct boundary element method. The method calculates the dimensionless productivity index and the model allows for the presence of the two different skin effects. The fracture face skin effect was found to have a significant detrimental effect on the dimensionless productivity index, especially for high-permeability reservoirs. The effect of the choke skin was found to be potentially also very detrimental, but less complex to account for, because it can be represented as an apparent reduction to the proppant number.