Combining Physics, Statistics and Heuristics in the Decline Curve Analysis of Large Datasets in Unconventional Reservoirs
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Copyright 2017, Society of Petroleum Engineers. Analytical single well models have been particularly useful in forecasting production rates and Estimated Ultimate Recovery (EUR) to the massive number of wells in unconventional reservoirs. In this work, a physics-based decline curve model accounting for linear flow and material balance in horizontal multi-stage hydraulically fractured wells is introduced. The main characteristics of pressure diffusion in the porous media and the fact that the reservoir is a limited resource are embedded in the functional form, such that there is a transition from transient to boundary dominated flow and the EUR is always finite. Analogously to the frequently used Arps hyperbolic, the new model has only three parameters, where two of them define the decline profile and the third one is a multiplier. This model is applied to a large dataset in a workflow that incorporates heuristic knowledge into the history matching and uncertainty quantification by assigning weights to rate measurements. The heuristic rules aim to lessen the effects of non-reservoir related variations in the production data (e.g. temporary shut-in due to fracturing in a neighboring well) and emphasize the reservoir dynamics to perform reliable predictions. However, there are additional degrees of freedom in the way these rules define the values of the weights, therefore a criteria is established that "calibrates" the uncertainty in the probabilistic models by adjusting the parameters in the heuristic rules. Uncertainty quantification and calibration is performed via a Bayesian approach with hindcasts. This methodology is implemented in an automated framework and applied to 992 gas wells from the Barnett shale. A comparison with the Arps hyperbolic, Duong and stretched exponential models for this dataset shows that the new model is the most conservative in terms of estimated reserves.
author list (cited authors)
Holanda, R. W., Gildin, E., & Valkó, P. P.