Simple mechanistic modeling of recovery from unconventional oil reservoirs
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Decline curve analysis is the most widely used method of performance forecasting in the petroleum industry. However, when these techniques are applied to production data from unconventional reservoirs they yield model parameters that result in infinite (nonphysical) values of reserves. Because these methods were empirically derived the model parameters are not functions of reservoir/well properties. Therefore detailed numerical flow simulation is usually required to obtain accurate rate and expected ultimate recovery (EUR) forecast. But this approach is time consuming and the inputs in to the simulator are highly uncertain. This renders it impractical for use in integrated asset models or field development optimization studies. The main objective of this study is to develop new and “simple” models to mitigate some of these limitations. To achieve this object field production data from an unconventional oil reservoir was carefully analyzed to identify flow regimes and understand the overall decline behavior. Using the result from this analysis we use design of experiment (DoE), numerical reservoir simulation and multivariate regression analysis to develop a workflow to correlate empirical model parameters and reservoir/well properties. Another result from this analysis showed that there are at least two time scales in the production data (existing empirical and analytical model do not account for this fact). Double porosity models that account for the multiple time scales only have complete solutions in Laplace space and this make them difficult to use in optimization studies. A new approximate analytical solution to the double porosity model was developed and validated with synthetic data. It was shown that the model parameters are functions of reservoir/well properties. In addition, a new analytical model was developed based on the parallel flow conceptual model. A new method is also presented to predict the performance of fractured wells with complex fracture geometries that combines a fundamental solution to the diffusivity equation and line/surface/volume integral to develop solutions for complex fracture geometries. We also present new early and late time solutions to the double porosity model that provide explicit functions for skin and well/fracture storage, which can be used to improve the characterization of fractured horizontal wells from early-time production data.