Analysis of Mechanisms of Flow in Fractured Tight-Gas and Shale-Gas Reservoirs
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In this paper we analyze by means of numerical simulation the mechanisms and processes of flow in two types of fractured tight gas reservoirs: shale and tight-sand systems. The numerical model includes Darcy's law as the basic equation of multiphase flow and accurately describes the thermophysical properties of the reservoir fluids, but also incorporates other options that cover the spectrum of known physics that may be involved: non-Darcy flow, as described by a multi-phase extension of the Forschheimer equation that accounts for laminar, inertial and turbulent effects; stress-sensitive flow properties of the matrix and of the fractures, i.e., porosity, permeability, relative permeability and capillary pressure; gas slippage (Klinkenberg) effects; and, non-isothermal effects, accounting for the consequences of energy balance and temperature changes in the presence of phenomena such as Joule-Thompson cooling in the course of gas production. The flow and storage behavior of the fractured media (shale or tight sand) is represented by various options of the Multiple Interactive Continua (MINC) conceptual model, in addition to an Effective Continuum Method (ECM) option, and includes a gas sorption term that follows the Langmuir isotherm. Comparison to field data, analysis of the simulation results and parameter determination through history matching indicates that (a) the ECM model is incapable of describing the fractured system behavior, and (b) shale and tight-sand reservoirs exhibit different behavior that can be captured (albeit imperfectly) using some of the more complex options of the multi-continua fractured-system models. The sorption term is necessary to describe the behavior of shale gas reservoirs, and significant deviations from the field data are observed if it is omitted. Conversely, production data from tight-sand reservoirs can be adequately represented without accounting for gas sorption. All the other processes and mechanisms allow refinement of the match between predictions and observations, but appear to have second-order effects in the description of flow through fractured tight gas reservoirs.
author list (cited authors)
Moridis, G. J., Blasingame, T. A., & Freeman, C. M.