This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 199149, “Rate-Transient-Analysis-Assisted History Matching With a Combined Hydraulic Fracturing and Reservoir Simulator,” by Garrett Fowler, SPE, and Mark McClure, SPE, ResFrac, and Jeff Allen, Recoil Resources, prepared for the 2020 SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference, originally scheduled to be held in Bogota, Colombia, 17–19 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

This paper presents a step-by-step work flow to facilitate history matching numerical simulation models of hydraulically fractured shale wells. Sensitivity analysis simulations are performed with a coupled hydraulic fracturing, geomechanics, and reservoir simulator. The results are used to develop what the authors term “motifs” that inform the history-matching process. Using intuition from these simulations, history matching can be expedited by changing matrix permeability, fracture conductivity, matrix-pressure-dependent permeability, boundary effects, and relative permeability.

Introduction

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 199149, “Rate-Transient-Analysis-Assisted History Matching With a Combined Hydraulic Fracturing and Reservoir Simulator,” by Garrett Fowler, SPE, and Mark McClure, SPE, ResFrac, and Jeff Allen, Recoil Resources, prepared for the 2020 SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference, originally scheduled to be held in Bogota, Colombia, 17-19 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

This paper presents a step-by-step work flow to facilitate history matching numerical simulation models of hydraulically fractured shale wells. Sensitivity analysis simulations are performed with a coupled hydraulic fracturing, geomechanics, and reservoir simulator. The results are used to develop what the authors term “motifs” that inform the history-matching process. Using intuition from these simulations, history matching can be expedited by changing matrix permeability, fracture conductivity, matrix-pressure-dependent permeability, boundary effects, and relative permeability.

Introduction

The concept of rate transient analysis (RTA) involves the use of rate and pressure trends of producing wells to estimate properties such as permeability and fracture surface area. While very useful, RTA is an analytical technique and has commensurate limitations. In the complete paper, different RTA motifs are generated using a simulator. Insights from these motif simulations are used to modify simulation parameters to expediate and inform the history- matching process.

The simulation history-matching work flow presented includes the following steps:

1 - Set up a simulation model with geologic properties, wellbore and completion designs, and fracturing and production schedules

2 - Run an initial model

3 - Tune the fracture geometries (height and length) to heuristic data: microseismic, frac-hit data, distributed acoustic sensing, or other diagnostics

4 - Match instantaneous shut-in pressure (ISIP) and wellhead pressure (WHP) during injection

5 - Make RTA plots of the real and simulated production data

6 - Use the motifs presented in the paper to identify possible production mechanisms in the real data

7 - Adjust history-matching parameters in the simulation model based on the intuition gained from RTA of the real data

8 -Iterate Steps 5 through 7 to obtain a match in RTA trends

9 - Modify relative permeabilities as necessary to obtain correct oil, water, and gas proportions

In this study, the authors used a commercial simulator that fully integrates hydraulic fracturing, wellbore, and reservoir simulation into a single modeling code.

Matching Fracturing Data

The complete paper focuses on matching production data, assisted by RTA, not specifically on the matching of fracturing data such as injection pressure and fracture geometry (Steps 3 and 4). Nevertheless, for completeness, these steps are very briefly summarized in this section.

Effective fracture toughness is the most-important factor in determining fracture length. Field diagnostics suggest considerable variability in effective fracture toughness and fracture length. Typical half-lengths are between 500 and 2,000 ft. Laboratory-derived values of fracture toughness yield longer fractures (propagation of 2,000 ft or more from the wellbore). Significantly larger values of fracture toughness are needed to explain the shorter fracture length and higher net pressure values that are often observed. The authors use a scale- dependent fracture-toughness parameter to increase toughness as the fracture grows. This allows the simulator to match injection pressure data while simultaneously limiting fracture length. This scale-dependent toughness scaling parameter is the most-important parameter in determining fracture size.

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