Economic production from tight-oil formations requires the same hydraulic fracturing techniques used during production of shale gas, and the same horizontal well technology is often used. Tight-oil formations are heterogeneous and greatly vary over relatively short distances. Thus, even in a single horizontal drilled hole, the amount recovered can vary, just as recovery within a field or even between adjacent wells can vary. This can make evaluation and decisions regarding profitability difficult. In relatively thinner pay zones, horizontal or slanted wells can be successful in terms of productivity as long as robust reservoir management is applied with well designs that consider both geology and operational control variables. Thus, it is crucial to understand every control and uncertainty parameter to help maximize efficiency and recovery within such systems.

Robust commercial optimization and uncertainty software is coupled with a full-physics commercial simulator that models this phenomenon to investigate the significance of major parameters on the performance of horizontal wells in tight-oil formations.

Slanted wells provide more flexibility and access to pays than vertical wells drilled from the same surface location, which is of more significance in tight formations because of less communication between zones. The results of the study not only confirm this, but also show the increased value provided using slanted wells compared to vertical wells in tight formations. The study also illustrates the significance of each optimization and uncertainty variable in terms of the success of recovery from slanted horizontal wells in tight formations.

The results and sensitivities are compared and discussed considering a comprehensive literature review of recycling gas-condensate reservoirs using different process optimization methods. The significance of all major parameters is outlined using tornado charts to serve as a practical example for optimization of similar future applications.

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