Objectives/Scope

Rate and pressure transient analysis is considered a routine process that has been developed and refined over many years. The underlying assumptions of linearity justify the use of superposition (in time and space), convolution and deconvolution. The reality of non-linearities are handled on a case by case basis depending on their source (fluid, well or reservoir). Shale gas wells are subject to significant non-linearity over their producing life.

We review some of the fundamental equations that govern pressure and rate transient behavior, introduce several new techniques which are suited to the analysis of data from producing wells and apply them to a synthetic example of a shale gas well.

Methods, Procedures, Process

First, we use simple calculus to show how the convolution integral is derived from standard multi-rate superposition. Then, from the convolution integral, we derive an equation that describes the pressure response due to a step-ramp rate (i.e. an instantaneous rate change from initial conditions followed by a linear variation in rate). It results in a combination of the pressure change due to a constant rate and it's integral. Applying superposition to this equation allows any rate variation to be approximated by a sequence of ramps with far fewer points than those required to achieve the same level of accuracy using standard constant step rate superposition.

Second, we re-write multi-rate superposition functions allowing for stepwise linear variable rate which, when applied to flowing data and used to calculate the pressure derivative, can result in a much smoother response and hence an overall improvement in the analysis of rate and pressure transients recorded from producing wells.

Third, we review the use of the Laplace transform and how it can be applied to discrete data with a view to deconvolving rate transient data.

Finally, we demonstrate how data de-trending can remove the impact of long term non-linearities and apply the methods mentioned above to a synthetic dataset based on a typical shale gas well production profile.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

We illustrate the advantages of the newly introduced superposition functions compared to conventional analysis methods when applied to the pressure transients of wells flowing at variable rate.

As an example, we have simulated the production of two shale gas wells over twenty years. Both have the same production profile, but one includes pressure dependent permeability. At various intervals during the life of the well, we introduce a relatively short well test which imposes a small variation in rate but does not include a shut-in. We de-trend the rate transients and then apply the techniques described above to analyse the resulting data. The interpretation allows us to identify non-linearities that may be influencing well productivity over time and to obtain a better understanding of the physics of shale gas production.

The mathematics documented in the paper provides a useful overview of how convolution, superposition, deconvolution and Laplace transforms provide the means to analyse pressure and rate transients for linear systems.

Data de-trending removes the impact of long term non-linearities on shorter transient test periods.