One key limitation of conventional production data analysis (PDA) is non-uniqueness of solution. This can cause huge uncertainty in reservoir parameter estimates and hydrocarbon forecasts. Hence, there is need for an alternative approach to PDA. This paper tackles this issue using flowback data analysis (FDA) as a constraint to guide PDA. We recently extended the existing linear dual-porosity model (DPM) to develop a flowback analysis model (FAM). Here, we intend to i) test the accuracy of FAM to predict gas production in the field, and ii) investigate how the results from its application on flowback data could reduce the uncertainty associated with conventional PDA.

This study applies FAM to history match 2-phase flowback data from three multifractured shale-gas wells completed in the Horn River Basin. The history match estimatesFAM estimates effective half-length and initial gas-volume in hydraulic-fractures before flowback. It is also used to forecasts post-flowback gas production. This forecast is verified by comparing it actual post-flowback production data. An independent single-phase PDA on post-flowback production data from the same shale-gas wells overestimates hydraulic fracture(HF) half-lengths compared to the FAM history-match results. This could be a result of the presence of water plugged secondary fractures with negligible communication interface with the hydraulic fractures during flowback. The interface significantly increases during post-flowback production periods as water gives way to gas from the matrix. One key result of this study is that HF half-lengths from PDA could significantly differ from those from post-flowback PDA.

It is more appropriate to interpret both flowback and production data using a single multiphase model. FAM is an example of such models that captures the "necessary" physics for both flowback and production operations. PDA without considering flowback data could lead to inaccurate results. This study shows how to perform a robust flowback-data-analysis that complements PDA for comprehensive fracture/reservoir characterization. These results encourage the industry to start careful and accurate measurement of rate + pressure immediately after opening wells for flowback.

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