The analysis of gas production from fractured ultralow-permeability (ULP) reservoirs is most often accomplished using numerical simulation, which requires large 3D grids, many inputs, and typically long execution times. We propose a new hybrid analytical/numerical method that reduces the 3D equation of gas flow into either a simple ordinary-differential equation (ODE) in time or a 1D partial-differential equation (PDE) in space and time without compromising the strong nonlinearity of the gas-flow relation, thus vastly decreasing the size of the simulation problem and the execution time.
We first expand the concept of pseudopressure of Al-Hussainy et al. (1966) to account for the pressure dependence of permeability and Klinkenberg effects, and we also expand the corresponding gas-flow equation to account for Langmuir sorption. In the proposed hybrid partial transformational decomposition method (TDM) (PTDM), successive finite cosine transforms (FCTs) are applied to the expanded, pseudopressure-based 3D diffusivity equation of gas flow, leading to the elimination of the corresponding physical dimensions. For production under a constant- or time-variable rate (q) regime, three levels of FCTs yield a first-order ODE in time. For production under a constant- or time-variable pressure (pwf) regime, two levels of FCTs lead to a 1D second-order PDE in space and time. The fully implicit numerical solutions for the FCT-based equations in the multitransformed spaces are inverted, providing solutions that are analytical in 2D or 3D and account for the nonlinearity of gas flow.
The PTDM solution was coded in a FORTRAN95 program that used the Laplace-transform (LT) analytical solution for the q-problem and a finite-difference method for the pwf problem in their respective multitransformed spaces. Using a 3D stencil (the minimum repeatable element in the horizontal well and hydraulically fractured system), solutions over an extended production time and a substantial pressure drop were obtained for a range of isotropic and anisotropic matrix and fracture properties, constant and time-variable Q and pwf production schemes, combinations of stimulated-reservoir-volume (SRV) and non-SRV subdomains, sorbing and nonsorbing gases of different compositions and at different temperatures, Klinkenberg effects, and the dependence of matrix permeability on porosity. The limits of applicability of PTDM were also explored. The results were compared with the numerical solutions from a widely used, fully implicit 3D simulator that involved a finely discretized (high-definition) 3D domain involving 220,000 elements and show that the PTDM solutions can provide accurate results for long times for large well drawdowns even under challenging conditions.
Of the two versions of PTDM, the PTD-1D was by far the better option and its solutions were shown to be in very good agreement with the full numerical solutions, while requiring a fraction of the memory and orders-of-magnitude lower execution times because these solutions require discretization of only the time domain and a single axis (instead of three). The PTD-0D method was slower than PTD-1D (but still much faster than the numerical solution), and although its solutions were accurate for t > 6 months, these solutions deteriorated beyond that point.
The PTDM is an entirely new approach to the analysis of gas flow in hydraulically fractured ULP reservoirs. The PTDM solutions preserve the strong nonlinearity of the gas-flow equation and are analytical in 2D or 3D. This being a semianalytical approach, it needs very limited input data and requires computer storage and computational times that are orders-of-magnitude smaller than those in conventional (numerical) simulators because its discretization is limited to time and (possibly) a single spatial dimension.