Natural gas exploration and production from shale gas formations have gained great momentum throughout the world in the last decade. Producing natural gas from shale is challenging because of the high uncertainty in well productivity. It is imperative to investigate and understand the gas flow mechanism in the shale gas formations. This paper investigates the shale gas production mechanism based on field case studies.
Guo et al.’s analytical well productivity model was employed in this work for analyzing gas productivity of a shale gas well in the Fayetteville Shale basin. Model analyses indicate that shale heterogeneity (natural fractures/custers and organics spots) is a favorable characteristics of shale gas reservoirs because they contribute to the initial and long-term well productivity. Shale gas reservoirs without natural fractures/clusters will not produce natural gas at commercial rates even a few hydraulic fractures are created. The intensity of natural fractures/clusters is a key factor affecting the potential of shale gas wells. Hydraulic fractures are useful for intersecting natural fractures/clusters to make well more productive, but it is not necessary to create high-conductivity fractures for this purpose. Shale gas wells should be placed in the areas where high-natural fracture intensity and solid organic material contents are present.