Fracturing fluid that remains in the fracture and formation after a hydraulic fracture treatment can decrease the productivity of a gas well by reducing the relative permeability to gas in the region invaded by this fluid. This fluid can block the gas flow into the fracture, thus reducing the effective fracture length. Pressure transient tests performed on hydraulically fractured wells often reveal that the effective fracture half-lengths are substantially less than the designed length from fracture stimulation.

In this work we used reservoir simulation to determine the relationship between fracture fluid production, effective fracture length, and gas productivity. While the effective fracture length is affected by such factors as non-Darcy flow, it is related directly to fracture cleanup, and increases with time. From this study we found that the rate of fracture fluid production is affected significantly by the conductivity of the fracture. Greater dimensionless fracture conductivity results in more effective well cleanup, longer effective fracture lengths versus time, and greater effective stimulation of the well.

The results of this study provide a better understanding of the gas production behavior from wells hydraulically fractured using water-based fracturing fluids. The relationships between fracture conductivity, effective fracture length, and gas productivity presented in this paper can be used in economic calculations to balance the costs of higher fracture conductivity against the additional revenue resulting from longer effective fracture lengths. Results presented will allow operators to better design optimal fracture lengths for typical gas reservoirs.

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