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In Memoriam: Michael J. Fetkovich

Michael J. Fetkovich, SPE Distinguished Member and developer of the widely used Fetkovich type curve analysis for oil and gas well production forecasts, died 3 February.

Fetkovich started his career as a gas well test engineer at Phillips Petroleum and retired from the company as senior principal reservoir engineer. He was a Phillips Fellow Emeritus, Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Fetkovich was the first to develop and use what is now called the "nodal analysis." This work was done for the Hewett gas field in the UK sector in the North Sea and was later presented at the Tulsa SPE Mid-Continent Section as a continuing education course in well test analysis.

One among his many contributions to the reservoir engineering field, his work on the Fetkovich decline type curve was an outgrowth on his earlier work and publications on a simplified approach to water-influx calculations. A composite of analytical and empirical solutions, the type curve combines analytical flow equations with empirical decline-curve equations by J.J. Arps. The Arps decline-curve analysis is only applicable when production is in boundary-dominated flow, so the early production of a well, when production is in transient flow, is not analyzable. Fetkovich used analytical flow equations to generate type curves for transient flow, which he combined with the empirical decline-curve equations. In doing so, he presented a new set of type curves that extended the Arps type curves into the transient flow region. His type curve analysis was intended to be a rapid way to estimate performance when a well is producing at a constant bottomhole flowing pressure. From Fetkovich type curves, future performance can be forecast along with estimates of original oil in place and ultimate recovery. Fetkovich was the author or coauthor of more than 20 technical papers, book chapters, and technical articles on related topics.

"In recognition of distinguished contributions which have allowed the industry to make better production forecasts and optimize field recoveries," Fetkivich was awarded the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal in 1999. His technical awards and recognitions include being elected into the National Academy of Engineering, the ConocoPhillips Lifetime Achievement Award, the SPE Lester C. Uren Award in 1993, and the SPE Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award in 1989. He was honored with SPE Distinguished Membership in 1992 and was a University of Pittsburg Distinguished Alumni.

Fetkovich held a BS in petroleum engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in petroleum engineering from the University of Trondheim, Norway.


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