Lopez Hernandez, Henry De Jesus (2004-08). Optimal fracture treatment design for dry gas wells maximizes well performance in the presence of non-Darcy flow effects. Master's Thesis.
This thesis presents a methodology based on Proppant Number approach for optimal fracture treatment design of natural gas wells considering non-Darcy flow effects in the design process. Closure stress is taken into account, by default, because it is the first factor decreasing propped pack permeability at in-situ conditions. Gel damage was also considered in order to evaluate the impact of incorporating more damaging factors on ultimate well performance and optimal geometry. Effective fracture permeability and optimal fracture geometry are calculated through an iterative process. This approach was implemented in a spreadsheet.
Non-Darcy flow is described by the ? factor. All ? factor correlations available in the literature were evaluated. It is recommended to use the correlation developed specifically for the given type of proppant and mesh size, if available. Otherwise, the Pursell et al. or the Martins et al. equations are recommended as across the board reliable correlations for predicting non-Darcy flow effects in the propped pack.
The proposed methodology was implemented in the design of 11 fracture treatments of 3 natural tight gas wells in South Texas. Results show that optimal fracture design might increase expected production in 9.64 MMscf with respect to design that assumes Darcy flow through the propped pack. The basic finding is that for a given amount of proppant shorter and wider fractures compensate the non-Darcy and/or gel damage effect.
Dynamic programming technique was implemented in design of multistage fractures for one of the wells under study for maximizing total gas production. Results show it is a powerful and simple technique for this application. It is recommended to expand its use in multistage fracture designs.