If one is repeatedly conducting the exact same completion in the same lithology of the same reservoir, then initial production (IP) rates might be a good indicator of relative long-term well performance or estimated ultimate recovery (EUR). This technique is tempting to use because it is quick and simple, and allows for easy comparison. However, use of this method alone assumes the shape of production decline curves will remain consistent from one well to the next. This method can especially be fallible when different numbers of fractures are placed along a lateral with possibly variable length. In this case, the relation between IP and EUR becomes much less defined.

Basing key economic decisions on IP alone can be misleading. This paper examines situations in which IP is not only a poor indicator of ultimate well performance, but in fact shows a reverse correlation. Sizing and spacing of fracturing treatments along a horizontal wellbore as well as vertical placement of the lateral in the zone can all be key variables. In many cases, one can choose high IP or optimized economic return, but not always both. Assuming that high IP equates to greater economic return can be a critical error. It is therefore essential to those involved in well-completion design as well as financial analysts to understand the variables involved as well as their impact. A lack of understanding could lead to poor completion and/or stimulation decisions that could severely impact the return on investment (ROI).

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.