Clear evidence is becoming available that shows that ultimate gas well performance is extremely sensitive to the early time well production management, during the time often referred to as the "flowback". Early time production management in shale gas wells is even more critical than in so-called traditional tight gas reservoirs. This production management problem is exacerbated by the plasticity of shale reservoirs, the need for extensive natural fracture swarms and the now common practice of multiple fracture stimulations of the long-reach laterals. This paper examines three data sets from actual wells that show the adverse impact of excessive early time flow rates, shut-ins during the early time production and the orientation of the laterals. Through numerical simulation and physical experiments, it becomes clear that the traditional performance metrics are at best misleading.

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