Abstract

This paper presents a review of the practical backpressure test analyses available for estimation of the stabilized absolute open flow (AOF) potential of natural gas wells. Linear regression analysis techniques have been used to correlate the field-recorded deliverability data and statistical influence tests have been used to identify possible out-liers in the test data.

The types of backpressure tests considered in this study are the conventional flow-after-flow (four point), single point, regular and modified isochronal backpressure tests, and the multiple modified isochronal test. The deliverability analyses considered in this paper are the Rawlins-Schellhardt pressure-squared, and the Houpeurt (quadratic) real gas pseudopressure and pressure-squared analyses. Modified versions of these analyses are used in the analysis of multiple modified isochronal tests.

The analysis techniques developed for multiple modified isochronal tests were reviewed and found to permit a rapid and adequate means of estimating the stabilized AOF potentials of slow-in-stabilizing wells in homogeneous reservoirs, using only the semilog transient isochronal deliverability data. Theoretical considerations are also introduced which may provide a means of estimating stabilized AOF potentials of gas wells completed in naturally fractured reservoirs. A discussion is also included on the estimation of stabilized AOF potentials of wells completed in homogeneous reservoirs, which have been vertically fractured to increase their productivity.

Introduction

Deliverability testing of natural gas wells for the estimation of stabilized absolute open flow (AOF) potentials is generally performed using backpressure tests. A backpressure test is a drawdown flow test in which a well is produced at a series of flow rates and associated sandface pressures in order to establish the deliverability behavior of the well.

Varying definitions of stabilized AOF potential of a gas well can be found in the literature. While the lack of consistency in the definition of AOF potential generally does not significantly affect the values of stabilized AOF potential obtained, it does add confusion to a discussion about stabilized AOF potential determination. Since a natural gas well will not exhibit a flowing sandface pressure of less than atmospheric pressure for normal production operations, we shall use the definition of stabilized AOF potential as the theoretical stabilized rate at which the well would produce at a stabilized flowing sandface backpressure of atmospheric pressure. While this definition of stabilized AOF potential has the limitation of variable atmospheric pressure values, the limitation is negligible since in most areas, the standard atmospheric pressure is regarded to be about 14.7 psia.

Estimates of stabilized AOF potentials of gas wells have been used by the natural gas industry and regulatory agencies for several purposes, such as setting allowable production rates, pipeline and gathering system design, planning field development, and for the negotiation of sales contracts. The various types of backpressure tests and analyses available were reviewed to determine their applicability to the various types of reservoirs commonly found today.

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