Many tight/shale gas wells exhibit linear flow, which can last for several years. Linear flow can be analyzed using a square-root-of-time plot, a plot of rate-normalized pressure vs. the square root of time. Linear flow appears as a straight line on this plot, and the slope of this line can be used to calculate the product of fracture half-length and the square root of permeability.
In this paper, linear flow from a fractured well in a tight/shale gas reservoir under a constant-flowing-pressure constraint is studied. It is shown that the slope of the square-root-of-time plot results in an overestimation of fracture half-length, if permeability is known. The degree of this overestimation is influenced by initial pressure, flowing pressure, and formation compressibility. An analytical method is presented to correct the slope of the square-root-of-time plot to improve the overestimation of fracture halflength. The method is validated using a number of numerically simulated cases. As expected, the square-root-of-time plots for these simulated cases appear as a straight line during linear flow for constant flowing pressure. It is found that the newly developed analytical method results in a more reliable estimate of fracture half-length, if permeability is known. Our approach, which is fully analytical, results in an improvement in linear-flow analysis over previously presented methods. Finally, the application of this method to multifractured horizontal wells is discussed and the method is applied to three field examples.