Since the first frac in 1954, around 250 of the 3000 exploration and production wells in the Netherlands have been hydraulically fractured. This study focusses on about 50 of the more recent fracs, of which sufficient production data, reservoir information and hydraulic fracture properties could be obtained for economic and data analysis.

For each well, the production history has been analyzed with a commercial rate transient analysis software package. About half of the wells have a pre-frac production history while the other half have been hydraulically fractured immediately after drilling. For wells with pre- and post-frac production data two history matched analytical models were made. Those models were subsequently used to create two production forecasts, to determine the incremental production profile and to calculate the economic value added by each frac. For wells without pre-frac production data the history matched post-frac model was used two create two production forecasts, one with and one without a hydraulic fracture in place.

The calculated economic values have been combined with reservoir properties (permeability, GIIP, stratigraphy, etc.) and frac data (proppant type, amount of fluid used, amount of proppant pumped, etc.), to form a dataset which was analyzed using a commercial data analysis tool to investigate perceived correlations.

The results show that practically all analyzed fracs resulted in a production improvement, and most of the fracs resulted in positive economic value added. However, some resulted in an economic grey area (below EUR 5 million incremental discounted cash flow), and one frac even resulted in a negative value.

Many reasons can be given for the distinction between economic and uneconomic projects. This paper shows that although multiple attributes influence the calculated economic value, some generic observations can be made. There is apparently no correlation between PI improvement, skin or kh and economic value. Remaining GIP is definitely important for economic value, but no generic correlation for reservoir pressure can be made. It was shown that wells often see more connected GIIP after fraccing. The results show that fracs in reservoirs with 80% depletion can still result in very economically beneficial projects, especially if the fracs increase the connected GIIP. Frac properties might very well be important for the determination of the economic value of fractures. However, no clear correlation between economic value and frac half length or proppant size could be found. On the other hand, the results show that larger amounts of (any) proppant pumped seem to lead to higher economic value. Last but not least, a relation between PI improvement and pre-frac skin was found.

The study presented is the first portfolio analysis of fracced conventional gas wells in The Netherlands. Input and methods have been checked and results have been shared with several experts outside our organization.

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