Ultimate Production Accurately Predicted From Initial Production

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In this work, the authors perform automatic decline analysis on Marcellus Shale gas wells and predict ultimate recovery for each well. A minimal model is used that captures the basic physics and geometry of the extraction process. A key discovery is that wells can have their estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) predicted early in life with surprising accuracy.


There are many challenges to production in the Marcellus, ranging from the regulatory and price environment to the highly variable responses of rock to hydro­fracture treatment. The complete paper’s primary goal is to generate scenarios for future gas production from the Marcellus by use of varying gas prices and other assumptions.

The first step in this process is determining technically recoverable reserves, which requires deciding how much each well will produce over its lifetime. To do this, the authors use recovery-­factor curves that describe total recovery in terms of two parameters: total gas in the stimulated reservoir volume (SRV) and the characteristic time to boundary-dominated flow (BDF).

Most wells produce following these recovery curves, but not all. Upon examining production data, the authors found that several hundred wells have very slow decline for the first several years, slower than the production decline expected from linear flow. In discussions with multiple operators, the authors found that this is attributable to production choking.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 180234, “Marcellus Wells: Ultimate Production Accurately Predicted From Initial Production,” by Frank Male, Michael P. Marder, John Browning, and Svetlana Ikonnikova, The University of Texas at Austin, and Tad Patzek, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, prepared for the 2016 SPE Low-Permeability Symposium, Denver, 5–6 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

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Ultimate Production Accurately Predicted From Initial Production

23 August 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 9