Effect of Non-Darcy Flow on Well Productivity of a Hydraulically Fractured Gas-Condensate Well
- Jitendra Mohan (University of Texas at Austin) | Gary A. Pope (University of Texas at Austin) | Mukul M. Sharma (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- August 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 576 - 585
- 2009. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 2,603 since 2007
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Hydraulic fracturing is a common way to improve productivity of gas-condensate wells. Previous simulation studies have predicted much larger increases in well productivity than have been actually observed in the field. This paper shows the large impact of non-Darcy flow and condensate accumulation on the productivity of a hydraulically fractured gas-condensate well. Two-level local-grid refinement was used so that very small gridblocks corresponding to actual fracture width could be simulated. The actual fracture width must be used to accurately model non-Darcy flow. An unrealistically large fracture width in the simulations underestimates the effect of non-Darcy flow in hydraulic fractures. Various other factors governing the productivity improvement such as fracture length, fracture conductivity, well flow rates, and reservoir parameters have been analyzed. Productivity improvements were found to be overestimated by a factor as high as three, if non-Darcy flow was neglected. Results are presented that show the impact of condensate buildup on long-term productivity of wells in both rich and lean gas-condensate reservoirs.
A significant decline in productivity of gas-condensate wells has been observed, resulting from a phenomenon called condensate blocking. Pressure gradients caused by fluid flow in the reservoir are greatest near the production well. As the pressure drops below the dewpoint pressure, liquid drops out and condensate accumulates near the well. This buildup of condensate is referred to as a condensate bank. The condensate continues to accumulate until a steady-state two-phase flow of condensate and gas is achieved. This condensate buildup decreases the relative permeability to gas, thereby causing a decline in the well productivity. Afidick et al. (1994) studied the Arun field in Indonesia, which is one of the largest gas-condensate reservoirs in the world. They concluded that a significant loss in productivity of the reservoir after 10 years of production was caused by condensate blockage. They found that condensate accumulation caused well productivity to decline by approximately 50%, even for this very lean gas. Boom et al. (1996) showed that even for a lean gas (e.g., less than 1% liquid dropout) a relatively high liquid saturation can build up in the near-wellbore region. Liquid saturations near the well can reach 50 to 60% under pseudosteady-state flow of gas and condensate (Cable et al. 2000; Henderson et al. 1998).
Hydraulic fracturing of wells is a common practice to improve productivity of gas-condensate reservoirs. Modeling of gas-condensate wells with a hydraulic fracture requires taking into account non-Darcy flow. Gas velocity inside the fracture is three to four orders of magnitude higher than that in the matrix. Use of Darcy's law to model this flow can overestimate the productivity improvement. Therefore, it is necessary to use Forchheimer's equation to model this flow with an appropriate non-Darcy coefficient that takes into account the gas-relative permeability and water saturation.
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