Modern Fracturing

Enhancing Natural Gas Production
Michael J. Economides
University of Houston
Tony Martin
BJ Services
ET Publishing
Houston,TX
© BJ Services Company 2007
BJ Services Company
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ISBN 978 1 60461 688 0
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Contents
Preface XV
Foreword XV
Contributing Authors XV
Acknowledgements XX
Chapter 1
ntroduction to this Book
1-1 ntroduction 3
1-2 Natural Gas in the World Economy 3
1-3 Russia: A Critical Evaluation of its Natural Gas Resources 5
1-3.1 The Resource Base 7
1-3.2 Russian Natural Gas Production 8
1-4 Alaska, its Natural Gas Resources and their mpact on US mports 8
1-4.1 Alaskan Reserves and Production 9
1-4.2 The Uncertain Destiny of the North Slope of Alaska Natural Gas 10
1-4.3 Alaska in the Context of the United States and Canadian Natural Gas 11
1-5 Qatar Natural Gas 12
1-5.1 North Field Characteristics and Development 13
1-6 Fracturing for the Effcient use of Existing
Resources and for ncreasing Recovery Factor 13
Chapter 2
Natural Gas Production
2-1 ntroduction 19
2-2 diosyncrasies of Dry Gas, Wet Gas and Gas Condensates 19
2-3 nfow from Natural Gas Reservoirs 20
2-3.1 Fundamentals of Non-Darcy Flow in Porous Media 20
2-3.2 Transient Flow 20
2-3.3 Steady State and Pseudosteady State Flow 21
2-3.4 Horizontal Well Flow 22
2-4 Effects of Turbulence 23

2-4.1 The Effects of Turbulence on Radial Flow 23
2-4.2 Perforated and Cased Well in a High-Rate Gas Reservoir 24
2-5 Production from Hydraulically Fractured Gas Wells 25
2-5.1 Unique Needs of Fracture Geometry and Conductivity 26
2-5.2 Turbulence Remediation in High- and Low-Permeability Wells 26
2-5.3 Multi-fractured Horizontal Gas Wells 28
2-6 Well Deliverability, PR and Well Flow Performance 33
2-7 Forecast of Well Performance 34
2-7.1 Gas Material Balance and Forecast of Gas Well Performance 34
2-8 Correlations for Natural Gas Properties 35
2-8.1 Pseudocritical Pressure, p
pc
and Pseudocritical Temperature, T
pc
35
2-8.2 Gas Viscosity 35
2-8.3 Gas Deviation Factor, Z 35
Chapter 3
Gas Well Testing and Evaluation
3-1 ntroduction 41
3-2 Background Theory 42
3-3 Radial Flow Solutions 44
3-4 Superposition 45
3-5 Model Development 46
3-6 Hydraulically Fractured Wells 47
3-7 Specialized Plots 48
3-8 Type Curves and the Log-Log Derivative Plot 49
3-9 Flow Regime dentifcation 51
3-10 Derivatives – A Few Cautionary Remarks 54
3-11 PTA nterpretation Methods 56
3-12 Difference Between High and Low Permeability Analysis Techniques 57
3-12.1 High-Permeability Wells 57
3-12.2 Low-Permeability Wells — Pre-Treatment Evaluation 59
3-12.3 Example 3-1, PD Test 60
3-12.4 Low-Permeability Wells — Post-Treatment Evaluation 61
3-12.5 Example 3-2, Low-Permeability Well, nfnite-Conductivity Fracture 62
3-12.6 Example 3-3, Low-Permeability Well, Finite-Conductivity Fracture 65
3-13 Non-Darcy Flow 66
3-13.1 Example 3-4, Non-Darcy, High-Permeability Well, Finite-Conductivity Fracture 68
3-13.2 Example 3-5, Non-Darcy, Low-Permeability Well, Finite-Conductivity Fracture 69
3-14 Production Analysis 70

3-15 Heterogeneity 76
3-15.1 Dual Porosity 76
3-15.2 Anisotropy 76
3-16 Multiphase Flow 77
3-16.1 Gas Condensates 78
3-16.2 Fracture Fluid Cleanup 79
3-16.3 Example 3-6, Fracture Fluid Cleanup Case 79
3-17 Closure Analysis 81
3-18 Deconvolution 86
Chapter 4
Hydraulic Fracture Design for Production Enhancement
4-1 ntroduction to Hydraulic Fracturing 93
4-1.1 Brief History of Fracturing and Qualitative Description of Process 93
4-1.2 High Permeability vs. Low Permeability 94
4-1.3 Near-Well Flow Enhancement vs. Reservoir Stimulation 94
4-1.4 Acceleration vs. ncrease of Reserves 95
4-2 Description of the Process 95
4-2.1 One of the Most Energy- and Material-ntensive ndustrial Activities 95
4-2.1.1UnderstandingtheSignifcanceofPressure 96
4-2.1.2DifferentTypesofPressure 96
4-2.1.3NetPressure 97
4-2.1.4EffectsofTortuosityandPerforationFriction 98
4-2.1.5FluidLeakoffandSlurryEffciency 101
4-2.1.6DimensionlessFractureConductivity 102
4-2.1.7Nolte-SmithAnalysis–PredictingFractureGeometryfromPressureTrends 103
4-2.1.8StepRateTests 104
4-2.1.9Minifracs 106
4-2.2 The Role of Advanced Technology in Design, Execution and Evaluation 109
4-2.2.1RecentAdvancesandBreakthroughs 109
4-2.2.2PressureMatching 112
4-2.2.3GettingClosertoUnderstandingFractureGeometry 115
4-2.2.4Real-TimeAnalysis 115
4-2.3 From Fracturing a Single Vertical Well to Complex Well-Fracture Architecture 116
4-3 Rock Mechanical Characteristics 116
4-3.1 Basic Defnitions 116
4-3.1.1StressandStrain 116
4-3.1.2ThePoisson’sRatio 116
V
4-3.1.3Young’sModulus 117
4-3.1.4OtherRockMechanicalCharacteristics 118
4-3.1.5Hooke’sLaw 119
4-3.1.6FailureCriteriaandYielding 119
4-3.2 n-Situ Stress and Fracture Orientation 121
4-3.2.1OverburdenStress 121
4-3.2.2HorizontalStresses 121
4-3.2.3TheEffectofPorePressure 122
4-3.2.4FractureOrientation 122
4-3.2.5StressAroundaWellboreandBreakdownPressure 123
4-3.3 Fracture Shape 125
4-3.3.1Two-Dimensional(2-D)FractureGeometry 125
4-3.3.2EllipticalFractureGeometry 125
4-3.3.3LimitationstoFractureHeightGrowth 126
4-3.3.4ComplexFractureGeometry 127
4-3.4 Fracture Propagation, Toughness and Tip Effects 127
4-3.4.1LinearElasticFractureMechanics 127
4-3.4.2SignifcanceofFractureToughness 129
4-3.4.3ComplexityattheFractureTip 130
4-3.5 Measuring Rock Mechanical Characteristics 132
4-3.5.1Introduction 132
4-3.5.2MethodsofMeasurement 132
4-3.5.3CoreSelection/SamplePreparationConsiderations 134
4-3.5.4DeducingElasticPropertieswithoutCore 135
4-4 Fluid Rheological Characteristics 137
4-4.1 Viscosity 137
4-4.1.1ShearRate,ShearStressandViscosity 137
4-4.1.2MeasurementofViscosity 137
4-4.2 Fluid Behavior 138
4-4.2.1NewtonianFluids 138
4-4.2.2Non-NewtonianFluids 138
4-4.2.3ApparentViscosity 139
4-4.3 Flow Regimes 140
4-4.3.1Plug,LaminarandTurbulentFlow 140
4-4.3.2Reynold’sNumber 140
4-4.4 Fluid Friction 141
4-4.4.1TheInfuenceofFlowRegime 141
4-4.4.2PredictingPressureLossduetoFriction 141
4-5 Optimum Treatment Design 141
4-5.1 Dimensionless Productivity ndex and Dimensionless Fracture Conductivity 143
V
4-5.2 Optimum Dimensionless Conductivity 144
4-5.3 Optimum Length and Width 144
4-5.4 Treatment Sizing and Proppant Placement Effciency 145
4-5.5 Taking nto Account Operational Constraints 145
4-5.6 Using Fracture Propagation Models 146
4-5.6.1Heightcontainment 146
4-5.6.22-Dmodels 147
4-5.6.33-Dmodels 149
4-6 Predicting Production ncrease 150
4-6.1 Pseudo-radial Concepts: Equivalent Wellbore Radius, Fracture Skin 150
4-6.2 Finite Reservoir Concepts, Folds of ncrease 150
4-6.3 Combining Productivity ndex and Material Balance 151
4-6.3.1Pseudo-steadystate 151
4-6.3.2Combinedtransientandstabilizedfow 151
4-6.4 Reservoir Simulation and Nodal Analysis 152
4-7 Fracturing Under Specifc Circumstances 153
4-7.1 Tight Gas 153
4-7.1.1TheImportanceofInfowArea 154
4-7.1.2EffectivevsActualProppedLength 154
4-7.2 High-Rate Gas Wells 155
4-7.2.1Non-DarcyFlow 155
4-7.2.2WellboreConnectivity 155
4-7.3 High-Permeability Wells 155
4-7.3.1TheImportanceofFractureConductivity 156
4-7.3.2TheTipScreenout 156
4-7.4 Unconsolidated Formations 156
4-7.4.1Re-StressingtheFormation 156
4-7.4.2TheFrac-PackTreatment 157
4-7.5 Skin-Bypass Treatments 157
4-7.6 Condensate Dropout 158
4-7.6.1DescriptionofPhenomena 158
4-7.6.2MitigatingtheEffectofDropout 158
4-7.7 Shale Gas and Coal Bed Methane 158
4-7.7.1GasShales 158
4-7.7.2CoalBedMethane 158
4-7.8 Acid Fracturing 159
4-7.8.1DescriptionofProcess 159
4-7.8.2EstimatingFractureConductivity 159
4-7.8.3UseofDiversionTechniques 160
V
Chapter 5
Well Completions
5-1 Wellbore Construction 169
5-1.1 Effects of Uncertainty in Reservoir Description 169
5-1.2 Fitting Well Design to the Reservoir Potential 169
5-1.3 Well Design 170
5-1.4 Other Well Equipment 171
5-1.5 Well ntegrity 171
5-2 Gas Well Cementing 172
5-2.1 General Objectives for Gas Well Cementing Operations 172
5-2.2 Gas Well Zonal solation 173
5-2.3 Review of Fundamental Cement Placement Practices 174
5-2.4 Predictive Wellbore Stress Modeling 174
5-2.5 Cement Slurry Criteria for Hydraulically Fractured Gas Wells 176
5-2.5.1SlurryCriteriaforOptimizedPlacement 176
5-2.5.2SlurryCriteriaforAnti-GasMigration 177
5-2.5.3SlurryCriteriaforLong-TermZonalIsolation 178
5-2.6 Fracturing Constraints Required to Maintain Long-Term Zonal solation 179
5-3 dentifying Gas Pays, Permeability and Channels 179
5-3.1 Pay and Water Zone Logging Methods 179
5-3.2 Effect of Formation Clays and Micro-porosity 180
5-3.3 Wellbore Deviation and Resultant Logging and Flow Problems 181
5-3.4 Completion Considerations for Naturally Fractured Reservoirs 181
5-3.5 Formation Characterization for Well Completions 182
5-4 Sizing the Completion 183
5-4.1 nitial Design Considerations 183
5-4.2 Flow Factors for Tubing Design 184
5-4.3 Tubing Selection 185
5-4.4 Multi-Phase Flow and Natural Lift 185
5-4.5 Multiphase Flow and Flow Correlation Options 186
5-4.6 Critical Lift Factors 187
5-4.7 Liquid Hold-up and Back Pressure 188
5-4.8 Lift Options for Gas Wells 188
5-5 Completion Design for Flow Assurance 188
5-5.1 Completion Design for the Prevention of Gas Hydrates 188
5-5.2 Formation Damage in Gas Wells, Completion Damage and Scales 190
5-5.3 Organic Deposits and Condensate Banking 190
5-5.4 Effects of H
2
S and CO
2
on Corrosion 191
V
5-6 Sand Control for Gas Wells 192
5-6.1 Why is the Sand Flowing? 192
5-6.2 s Sand Flow All Bad? 192
5-6.3 Establishing and Monitoringa Sand-Free Rate 193
5-6.4 Sand Control Methods for Gas Wells 194
5-6.5 Reliability of Sand Control Completions 194
5-6.6 Repairing and Restoring Productivity in Wells hat Flow Sand 194
Chapter 6
Fracture-to-Well Connectivity
6-1 ntroduction 201
6-2 Completion Techniques and Their mpact on Well Connectivity 202
6-2.1 Cased-Well solation Techniques 202
6-2.2 Open-Hole Completions 205
6-2.3 Open-Hole and Uncemented Liner Fracture Treatment Diversion 205
6-3 Perforating in General 206
6-4 Perforating for Fracturing 206
6-4.1 Oriented Perforations 206
6-4.2 Deviated and Horizontal Well Perforating 208
6-4.2.1ProductionImpairmentfromIneffcientFracture-to-WellboreContact 209
6-4.3 Underbalanced vs. Extreme Overbalanced Perforating 211
6-5 Near-Wellbore Fracture Complexity 213
6-5.1 Near-Wellbore Complexity 214
6-5.2 Diagnosing and Quantifying Near-Wellbore Complexity (Tortuosity) 215
6-5.3 Minimizing the Effects of Tortuosity 217
6-6 Mid- and Far-Field Fracture Complexity 218
6-6.1 An ntroduction to Complex Fracture Growth 219
6-6.2 Evidence of Complex Fracture Growth 220
6-6.3 Consequences of Complex Fracture Growth 220
Chapter 7
Fracturing Fluids and Formation Damage
7-1 ntroduction 227
7-2 Fracturing Fluid Function 228
7-2.1 Fracture nitiation 228
V
7-2.2 Proppant Transport 229
7-3 Fracturing Fluid Rheology 230
7-3.1 Pressure Loss Gradient in the Fracture 232
7-3.2 Rheology in the Presence of Proppant Material and its Relation to Settling 234
7-3.3 mpact of Fluid Rheology on Fluid Loss 235
7-3.4 Calculation of Pressure Loss in the Wellbore Using Rheological Parameters
and the Virk Maximum Drag Reduction Asymptote 235
7-3.5 Advanced Rheology 235
7-3.6 Foam Rheology 236
7-3.7 Effect of Proppant on Rheology 237
7-3.8 Laboratory Rheology Measurements 239
7-4 Types of Fracturing Fluids 242
7-4.1 Water-Based Fluids 243
7-4.1.1Low-ViscosityFluids 243
7-4.1.2CrosslinkedFluids 243
7-4.1.3BorateCrosslinkedFluids 244
7-4.1.4MetallicIonCrosslinkedFluids 244
7-4.1.5Delayed-CrosslinkSystems 245
7-4.1.6FunctionofBreakersinWater-BasedFluids 246
7-4.1.7Water-BasedFluidsinGasWells 246
7-4.2 Oil-Based Fluids 247
7-4.3 Energized fuids 248
7-4.4 Foams and Emulsions 249
7-4.5 Unconventional Fluids 250
7-4.5.1ViscoelasticSurfactantFluids 250
7-4.5.2ViscoelasticSurfactantFoams 251
7-4.5.3EmulsionofCarbonDioxidewithAqueousMethanolBaseFluid 251
7-4.5.4CrosslinkedFoams 251
7-4.5.5Non-AqueousMethanolFluids 252
7-4.5.6LiquidCO
2
-BasedFluids 253
7-4.5.7LiquidCO
2
-BasedFoamFluid 254
7-4.6 Acid Fracturing Fluid 254
7-5 Fracturing Fluid Additives 254
7-5.1 Additives for Water-Based Fluids 254
7-5.1.1FrictionReducers 254
7-5.1.2GellingAgents 255
7-5.1.3Biocide 257
7-5.1.4Buffers 259
7-5.1.5Crosslinkers 259
7-5.1.6Breakers 260
X
7-5.1.7ClayStabilizers 262
7-5.1.8Surfactants 262
7-6 Fluid Damage to Fractures and Sources of Productivity mpairment 262
7-6.1 Example Calculation of Productivity mpairment from Fracture Damage 264
7-6.2 Formation Damage from Saturation Changes 265
7-6.2.1FluidRetention 265
7-6.2.2Rock/FluidInteractions 267
7-6.2.3Fluid/FluidInteractions 267
7-6.2.4WettabilityAlterations 267
7-6.3 Formation Damage from Production 268
7-7 Fracturing Fluid Selection 268
7-7.1 Mineralogical Evaluation 269
7-7.1.1X-RayDiffraction(XRD)Analysis 269
7-7.1.2ScanningElectronMicroscopy(SEM) 270
7-7.1.3ImmersionTesting 271
7-7.1.4CapillarySuctionTimeTesting 271
7-7.1.5CoreFlowAnalysis 271
7-8 Selection of Fracturing Fluids for Applications in Gas Wells 273
Chapter 8
Proppants and Fracture Conductivity
8-1 ntroduction 283
8-1.1 Overview 283
8-1.2 The Evolution of Proppants 283
8-1.3 Fracture Conductivity 285
8.2 Conductivity mpact on Fractured Well Production Potential 286
8-2.1 How a Propped Fracture Benefts Well Flow Rate 287
8-2.2 Steady-State Solutions 288
8-2.3 Transient Solutions 288
8-3 Proppants 289
8-3.1 Sands 289
8-3.1.1OttawaSands 290
8-3.1.2BradySands 290
8-3.2 Ceramic Proppants 291
8-3.2.1SinteredBauxite 291
8-3.2.2IntermediateStrengthCeramicProppant 291
8-3.2.3LightweightCeramicProppant 292
8-3.3 Resin-Coated Proppants 292
X
8-3.4 Ultra-Lightweight Proppants 294
8-4 Proppant Properties, Testing Protocols, and Performance Considerations 295
8-4.1 Proppant Testing Procedure Standards 295
8-4.2 Proppant Sampling 296
8-4.3 Grain Size and Grain Size Distribution 297
8-4.3.1ProppantSizeTesting 297
8-4.4 Proppant Shape 298
8-4.4.1ProppantShapeTesting 299
8-4.5 Proppant Bulk Density and Apparent Specifc Gravity 299
8-4.5.1ProppantBulkDensityandSpecifcGravityTesting 300
8-4.6 Proppant Quality 300
8-4.6.1AcidSolubilityTesting 300
8-4.6.2TurbidityTesting 301
8-4.7 Proppant Strength 301
8-4.7.1ProppantCrushandFinesGeneration 302
8-4.7.2CrushTesting 302
8-4.8 Proppant Concentration 303
8-5 Proppant Placement 305
8-5.1 Effects on Fluid Rheology 305
8-5.2 Convection 305
8-5.3 Proppant Transport 305
8-6 Fracture Conductivity 308
8-6.1 AP “Short-Term” Testing Procedure 308
8-6.2 SO “Long-Term” Testing Procedure 309
8-6.3 Non-Darcy Flow Testing 310
8-6.4 Multiphase Flow Tests 311
8-6.5 Gel Damage 312
8-6.6 Other Factors 313
8-7 Proppant Flowback 314
8-7.1 Proppant Flowback Control 314
8-7.2 Curable Resin-Coated Proppant 315
8-7.3 Proppant Flowback Control Additives 315
8-7.3.1Tackifers 315
8-7.3.2Fibers 315
8-7.3.3DeformableParticles 315
8-8 Proppant Selection 316
8-8.1 Productivity Potential 317
8-8.2 Flowback Control 317
8-8.3 Availability 317
8-8.4 The Cost-Value Proposition 318
X
Chapter 9
Execution of Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments
9-1 ntroduction 323
9-2 Function of Equipment 324
9-2.1 High-Pressure Pumping Equipment 324
9-2.2 Blending Equipment 325
9-2.3 High-Pressure Treating Lines and Manifolds 326
9-2.4 Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide Pumping 326
9-2.5 Treatment Control Vans and Cabins 327
9-3 Equipment Quality Control 328
9-3.1 How Much Horsepower and What is the Pressure Rating? 328
9-3.2 How Many High-Pressure Lines and Suction Discharge Hoses to Use? 329
9-3.3 Standby Pumping and Blending Equipment 329
9-3.4 Absolute Essentials for Every Job 329
9-4 Quality Control for Fracturing Fluids 330
9-4.1 Quality Control of Water-Based Fracturing Fluids Before Arriving on Location 330
9-4.2 Fracture Fluid Blending Methods 334
9-4.3 Quality Control of Water-Based Fracture Fluids on Location 334
9-4.4 Quality Control of Other Fluid Systems 335
9-5 Quality Control of Propping Agents 336
9-5.1 Quality Control Guideline for Propping Agents 338
9-6 Quality Control and Execution of Acid Fracturing 338
9-6.1 Quality Control for Acid Fracturing 339
9-7 Multi-Stage Fracturing and solation Methods 342
9-7.1 Diverting Agents 342
9-7.2 Ball Sealers 342
9-7.3 Limited Entry 343
9-7.4 Multi-Stage Fracturing with Mechanical solation 344
9-7.5 New Multi-Stage Fracturing Technology 346
9-7.6 Horizontal Well Multi-Stage Fracturing 347
9-8 Pre-Fracture Diagnostics and Fracture Evaluation Tests 347
9-9 Real-Time Pressure nterpretation 350
9-9.1 Nolte-Smith Plot (see also Section 4-2.1.7) 350
9-9.2 Surface Treating Pressure as a Tool 351
9-9.3 The Effects of Perforations on Surface Treating Pressure 353
9-9.4 The Effects of Pipe Friction on Surface Treating Pressure 354
9-10 Fracturing Fluid Recovery (Flowback) 355
X
Chapter 10
Fracturing Horizontal Wells
10-1 ntroduction 363
10-2 Production from Transversely Fractured Gas Horizontal Wells 365
10-2.1 A Calculation for Transversely Fractured Gas Horizontal Wells 366
10-3 Open-Hole Horizontal Well Completions 369
10-3.1 Perforating 370
10-3.2 Zonal solation 370
10-4 Open-Hole Fracturing 371
10-4.1 Acid Fracturing Execution 372
10-4.2 Proppant Fracturing Execution 372
10-4.3 Cleanup 373
10-5 Cased-Hole Completions 373
10-5.1 Cementing Horizontal Wells 373
10-5.2 Perforating Cemented Completions 374
10-5.3 Zonal solation in Cased Completions 375
10-6 Fracturing of Cased-Hole Completions 376
10-6.1 Acid Fracture Execution 376
10-6.2 Proppant Fracturing Execution 377
10-7 Rationale and Conditions of Fracturing
Horizontal Wells in Gas Formation 377
Chapter 11
Unconventional Gas
11-1 ntroduction 383
11-2 Description of Unconventional Reservoirs 383
11-3 Production Mechanisms 385
11-3.1 CBM (Coalbed Methane) 385
11-3.2 Shale Gas Reservoirs 385
11-3.3 Shale Gas Reserves 386
11-4 CBM Reservoirs 387
11-4.1 Coalbed Description 387
11-4.2 CBM Fractured Systems 388
11-4.3 Adsorption/Desorption 390
11-4.4 Stimulation Techniques 391
11-4.5 Alternate Completions and Enhanced Production Techniques 393
X
11-4.6 Fracture Modeling of CBM Wells 396
11-4.7 Fracturing Treatment Evaluation of CBM Wells 397
11-4.8 Estimation of Reserves and Production Data Analysis 398
11-5 Shale Gas 400
11-5.1 Shale Description 400
11-5.2 Thermogenic and Biogenic Systems 401
11-5.3 Ft. Worth Basin Barnett Shale 402
11-5.3.1BarnettShaleSlickwaterTreatmentDesignConsiderations 404
11-5.4 Barnett and Woodford Gas Shale, Delaware Basin 406
11-5.5 Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas 409
11-5.5.1TreatmentDesignConsiderationsFayettvilleShale 409
11-5.6 Woodford/Caney Shale, Arkoma Basin 410
11-5.7 Floyd Shale/Conasauga Shale, Black Warrior Basin (Alabama) 412
11-5.8 Mancos and Lewis Shales 412
11-6 Shale Treatment Design and Evaluation 413
11-6.1 Stimulation and Treatment Design for Shale Reservoirs 413
11-6.2 Fracture Modeling 416
11-6.3 Summary 416
Chapter 12
Fracturing for Reservoir Development
12-1 ntroduction 427
12-2 mpact of Fracturing on Reservoir- or Drainage-Wide Production 428
12-2.1 Example Application of nfeld Drilling and Fracturing of Gas Wells 429
12-2.2 Transient Flow of Fractured Gas Wells 430
12-3 Forecasting Natural Gas Well Performance and Recovery 431
12-3.1 A Case Study for Reservoir Recovery Using Unfractured and Fractured Wells 431
12-3.2 Field Development Strategy 432
12-4 mpact of Fracture Azimuth on Well Planning 434
12-4.1 Determination of Fracture Azimuth 435
12-4.2 Considerations Regarding Directional Permeability in the Reservoir 435
12-4.3 Barnett Shale Case Study 437
12-5 Data Mining Techniques 441
12-5.1 Purpose of Data Mining 441
12-5.2 Data Sources 441
12-5.3 Data Preparation 442
12-5.4 Selected Data Mining Tools 442
12-5.5 Data Mining Case History 443
XV
Chapter 13
Technologies for Mature Assets
13-1 ntroduction 455
13-1.1 Defnition of a Mature Asset 455
13-1.2 Minimum Cost & Maximum Value 456
13-1.3 Motivation for Fracturing 457
13-1.4 New Technologies/Approaches 458
13-1.5 Reducing Treatment Costs 462
13-2 Candidate Selection 464
13-2.1 Regional Considerations 464
13-2.2 Neighborhood Considerations 465
13-2.3 Localized Considerations 466
13-2.4 Risk Ranking and Data Manipulation 467
13-2.5 Case Histories and Results 468
13-3 Fracture Design in Mature Fields 469
13-4 Depletion Considerations 470
13-4.1 Pore-Pressure Considerations 470
13-4.2 Fracturing Fluid Selection 472
13-4.3 Proppant Selection 473
13-4.4 Cleanout and Flowback 474
13-4.5 Mechanical Deployment 476
13-5 Re-Fracturing Operations 479
13-5.1 Re-Fracturing Case Histories 480
13-5.2 Candidate Selection for Re-Fracturing 481
13-5.3 Re-Fracture Re-Orientation 481
13-5.4 mproved Treatment Design 483
Nomenclature 491
ndex 503
XV
Preface
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Modern Fracturing: Enhancing Natural Gas Production. BJ Services
Company is proud to be involved in developing and publishing this work. We hope you fnd this book to be
instructive, informative and interesting.
Tis book is intended for use by all industry professionals, not just those who are already familiar with the engineering
concepts and feld practices of hydraulic fracturing. Te pages within comprise a state-of-the-art engineering manual
for planning, preparation, performance and evaluation of hydraulic fracture treatments in natural gas reservoirs. We
envision industry professionals throughout the world benefting from the information in this book.
Hydraulic fracturing is already the completion method of choice for most natural gas wells in North America. As
global dependence upon natural gas increases, it seems likely the application and popularity of this completion
method will only increase further and spread farther. Te techniques described within this book are applicable to all
gas reservoirs, not just to the low permeability formations typically developed in North America. We frmly believe
fracturing is the best possible completion technique for each and every gas reservoir throughout the world.
A wide range of knowledgeable authors from throughout the industry have come together to produce this book. On
behalf of BJ Services, I want to thank them for their sharing their experience and knowledge, as well as for their hard
work and dedication in completing such an ambitious project. We feel certain that in the years to come, each author
will continue to be proud of his or her involvement in this undertaking. We also trust that readers like you will
continue to improve “best practices” in developing natural gas resources worldwide with the insights derived from
this signifcant work.
Dave Dunlap
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Ofcer, BJ Services
I
XV
I
Foreword
I was very pleased when my friend Michael Economides asked me to write the Preface to his new book. BJ Services
Company should be complimented for sponsoring this efort and for attracting some of the world’s top experts to
contribute. I know many of the contributors, and I am sure the result will be lasting and useful for years to come.

I am even more pleased that this specifc book is put together for three reasons. Te frst is that natural gas will shortly
become the premier fuel of the world economy. Second, hydraulic fracturing, already the most important production
enhancement technique for oil wells, is absolutely indispensable for natural gas wells. Tird, the existing know-how and
skill sets of the fracturing community are dreadfully inadequate, especially in management.

Fracturing in the petroleum industry is no longer an experimental or daring activity by some hot-shot, brash engineers,
often working against the established old thinking and even worse, conservative managers who still believe that economics
equal cost reduction, ignoring the beneft from improved well performance. When enhanced production and injection
performance is the motivation, nothing can compete with properly integrated fracturing.

Often, people are confused about the real impact from this well completion and stimulation technique. Most often, any
improvement in production compared to what a well did before fracturing is considered a “success.” In reality, we already
know how much a well should be producing after fracturing by using the concept of maximizing the J
D
, the dimensionless
productivity index. Anything less than that should be considered a performance gap and managed as such. We have to
push the limits and manage the completion and execution community to deliver what we know can be done.

All activities in a company must be integrated with hydraulic fracturing. We are by defnition “can-do” people. So the idea
that ultra-high production targets are “unrealistic and theoretical” should be replaced by developing and implementing
the know-how and skill sets to deliver maximum performance.

Consider this: When my associates and I (including Michael) were working in Russia, in a fve-year period we managed
to double a company’s production, increasing by 20% per year to almost 2 million barrels per day while shutting-in 50%
of the original well stock. Most of this success occurred by pushing the limits of hydraulic fracturing and integrating the
other parts of the production system. And despite this success, we were constantly enhancing materials and increasing job
sizes to push the calculated performance limits. We established two management rules:
1. All new wells and workovers must be fractured unless top management approves otherwise.
2. All frac jobs must be designed and executed to perform at the peak of the NPV bell curve unless top management
approves otherwise.
Te point is that many companies require approval to do it right but delegate enough fnancial authority, no approval
required, to do it wrong. We reversed this by giving enough authority (no approval required) to do it right and required
top management approval to do it wrong.

It is not so difcult to reproduce the same performance everywhere else. Just look at current worldwide well performance,
and one can easily see huge gaps, including the largest and best-known multinational oil companies. Fracturing can go a
long way to correct this obvious problem. Not only will the beneft to companies be immediate and large, but silly talk
about “peak oil” and “twilight in the desert” will go away.

Joe Mach - February 2007
Contributing Authors
Editors
Michael J. Economides, University of Houston
Tony Martin, BJ Services
Authors
Bob Bachman, Taurus Reservoir Solutions
Steve Baumgartner, BJ Services
Harold Brannon, BJ Services
Andronikos Demarchos, Hess Corporation
Michael J. Economides, University of Houston
John Ely, Ely & Associates, Inc.
Satya Gupta, BJ Services
Robert Hawkes, BJ Services
Barry Hlidek, BJ Services
George King, BP
Randy Lafollette, BJ Services
David Mack, Marathon Oil
Mark Malone, BJ Services
Tony Martin, BJ Services
C. Mark Pearson, Golden Energy, LLC
David Ross, InTuition Energy Associates Ltd.
Martin Rylance, BP
Gary Schein, BJ Services
Peter Valkó, Texas A&M University
Leen Weijers, Pinnacle Technologies
Xiuli Wang, BP
Don Wolcott, Aurora Oil and Gas
XV
XX
Acknowledgements
First and foremost, the editors would like to express their sincere gratitude to JC Mondelli, who has been the
champion of this book within BJ Services from its initial conception, all the way through to printing and publication.
Without his perseverance and vision, this publication would never have come about. We would also like to thank
the senior management of BJ Services for providing funding and, especially, for allowing a great number of highly
dedicated people to put their time and energy into writing chapters, in spite of their busy schedules.
Our thanks to Joe Mach for gracing the book with his Preface and endorsement, and who also, in his unique
style, reminded all of us why doing this book mattered in the frst place.
Writing this book was an added task both for our BJ Services colleagues and those from other companies and
institutions, and the result is a testament to their dedication and professionalism. Putting together a multi-authored,
multi-edged book is never an easy task and to no small measure, the authors deserve particular praise for persevering
and having to respond to suggestions and editorial interference by two admittedly highly demanding and opinionated
Editors. Compliments and credit are deserved by all of them, without whom this project would not have been
possible.
Special thanks go to Greg Salerno who shepherded many of the logistical tasks and kept a level-headed approach
on the day-to-day management of the project. Tanks also to Garth Gregory and Margaret Kirick for their invaluable
help with the organisation and administration of this undertaking.
Te copy-editor Stephanie Weiss served a key role in the fnal version of the book. She is a highly experienced
and exceptional technical copy editor, a formidable “vacuum cleaner” for cleaning up defciencies, omissions and
errors. Her work reminded all that adherence to detail and perfection are essential in elevating a professional book to
a diferent level. She was a rare fnd.
Alexander M. Economides and his staf in the Energy Tribune, headed by Jay Clark and the publication assistants
Alex Lewis and George Song, did a spectacular job in producing the book. Tey deserve special praise.
Michael J. Economides and Tony Martin - September 2007
F
Michael J. Economides is a professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and the
managing partner of a petroleum engineering and petroleum strategy consulting frm. His interests include
petroleum production and petroleum management with a particular emphasis on natural gas, natural gas
transportation, LNG, CNG and processing; advances in process design of very complex operations, and
economics and geopolitics. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Energy Tribune. Previously he was the
Samuel R. Noble Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University and served as chief scientist
of the Global Petroleum Research Institute (GPRI). Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M University,
Economides was director of the Institute of Drilling and Production at the Leoben Mining University
in Austria. Before that, he worked in a variety of senior technical and managerial positions with a major
petroleum services company. Publications include authoring or co-authoring 14 professional textbooks and
books, including Te Color Of Oil, and more than 200 journal papers and articles. Economides does a wide
range of industrial consulting, including major retainers by national oil companies at the country level and
by Fortune 500 companies. He has had professional activities in over 70 countries.
Tony Martin is business development manager for international stimulation at BJ Services Company. Since
graduating from Imperial College, London, with an honors degree in mechanical engineering and a master's
degree in petroleum engineering, Martin has spent 17 years in the oil industry and has completed engineering
assignments around the world. Martin's primary interest has been hydraulic fracturing and stimulation, and
he has been involved in production enhancement projects in more than 25 countries. He teaches fracturing,
acidizing and sand control both in-house and externally. A constant theme in this teaching is the need
to de-mystify the world of hydraulic fracturing, in an attempt to make the process more accessible and
less intimidating. He is the author or co-author of numerous SPE papers and has served on the technical
committees for several SPE events. He is also the author of BJ Services’ Hydraulic Fracturing Manual.
3
Chapter 1
ntroduction to this Book
Michael J. Economides, University of Houston and
Tony Martin, BJ Services
1-1 ntroduction
Tis is a book about enhancing natural gas production
using one of the most important and widespread well
completion technologies — hydraulic fracturing.
Te book addresses the way that natural gas is
produced from natural reservoirs (Chapter 2) and then
describes diagnostic techniques that can pinpoint whether
the well is producing as it should or whether intervention
should be undertaken (Chapter 3), which is the central
theme of this book.
Hydraulic fracturing is introduced as the solution
of choice, showing the idiosyncratic nature of natural
gas wells compared to oil wells (Chapter 4). Te
subsequent two chapters address important peripheral
issues whose successful or failed resolution may afect
the well performance with equal or even more serious
consequences than the fracture treatment itself. Tese
issues include well completions (Chapter 5) and the
extremely important well-to-reservoir (and fracture)
connectivity (Chapter 6).
Te next two chapters deal with materials for
fracturing: fuids and proppants (Chapters 7 and 8). Teir
selection is essential to the successful execution of the
treatment. Te execution itself becomes the next chapter,
and practical issues are addressed there (Chapter 9).
Ten some modern applications are described.
One chapter deals with fracturing horizontal wells,
increasingly an important option among reservoir
exploitation strategies (Chapter 10). Not only new
well architecture but also newer reservoir targets are
opening up, and natural gas demand points towards
unconventional sources, namely coalbed methane
(CBM), shale gas and very low-permeability formations.
Technology makes their exploitation possible, and this
is the subject of the next chapter (Chapter 11).
Finally, two issues round out the book:
Fracturing is employed in the full development of
reservoirs (Chapter 12); and how mature felds, a
mainstay of the developed world such as the United
States and Europe, can be revitalized through
this process (Chapter 13).
Before the technical issues are addressed it is
essential to look at natural gas in the world economy,
why it is becoming increasingly important and what
are the reasons for all the excitement surrounding its
enhanced production.
1-2 Natural Gas in the World Economy
Although natural gas, with some 23% of all world energy
demand in 2005, is still slightly behind coal (25.6%) as
the world’s third-largest source of primary energy (oil
still dominates at 38%), it is poised to move up because
of signifcantly emerging new trade. Member countries
in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) and the USA, specifcally,
consume about 51% and 22% respectively of global
natural gas, now comprising about 103 Tcf (2.9 Bm
3
) per
year (Energy Information Administration, EIA, 2007).
Figure 1-1 The top 12 holders of natural gas reserves:
Russia, Iran and Qatar dominate (EIA, 2006, BP
Statistical Review, 2006, ET, 2007)
Tere are several obvious benefts to the use of
natural gas. First, it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel
and produces fewer emissions and pollutants than either
oil or, especially, coal. Second, the resource is becoming
increasingly diverse. Since the early 1970s, world reserves
of natural gas have been increasing steadily, at an annual
Modern Fracturing
4
rate of some 5%. Similarly, the number of countries
with known reserves has also increased from around 40
in 1960 to about 85 in 2005. Te distribution among
those countries, dominating the global proved reserves of
natural gas, is shown in Fig. 1-1 and Table 1-1.
One reason for anticipated increase in demand for
natural gas is the public concern over environmental
issues. Furthermore, forecasts of rapid increase in
natural gas demand over the next two decades, in the
biggest market of all, the United States, have been
exacerbated by forecasts of declining production.
Declining production forecasts have been extended to
Canada, a reliable provider to the US thus far (EIA,
Annual Energy Outlook, 2007).
Although natural gas demand is expected to
increase, such an increase in the near future will
be driven by additional demand from current uses,
primarily power generation. Tere is yet little overlap
between the use of natural gas and oil in all large
markets. However, certain developments on the
horizon, including the electrifying of transportation,
will push natural gas use to ever higher levels.
Although potential natural gas supplies abound
throughout the world, facilities and infrastructure
to receive and distribute the product to market are
expensive to build, and their development can easily be
hindered by geopolitics. Tese reasons have historically
inhibited natural gas from reaching its full potential in
the world’s energy markets. Natural gas is transported
either by pipeline (73% of internationally traded gas
in 2005, EIA 2007), mainly across land masses, and
by liquefed natural gas (LNG) transportation across
the oceans (the remaining 27%). Te rapid expansion
of LNG infrastructure worldwide in the past decade is
Table 1-1 Top 25 Countries Ranked According to Proved Natural Gas Reserves and identifying the proved
reserves-to-production ratio (R/P) for each country
Proved Natural Gas Reserves at January 1, 2006
Country
Trillion Cubic
Feet (Tcf)
Trillion Cubic
Meters (Tm
3
)
Share of Total
Cumulative
Share of Total
Reserves /
Production (R/P)
Years
1 Russian Federation 1688 47.8 26.6% 26.6% 80.0
2 Iran 944 26.7 14.9% 41.5% >100
3 Qatar 910 25.8 14.3% 55.8% >100
4 Saudi Arabia 244 6.9 3.8% 59.6% 99.3
5 United Arab Emirates 213 6.0 3.4% 63.0% >100
6 USA 193 5.5 3.0% 66.0% 10.4
7 Nigeria 185 5.2 2.9% 68.9% >100
8 Algeria 162 4.6 2.5% 71.5% 52.2
9 Venezuela 152 4.3 2.4% 73.9% >100
10 Iraq 112 3.2 1.8% 75.6% >100
11 Kazakhstan 106 3.0 1.7% 77.3% >100
12 Turkmenistan 102 2.9 1.6% 78.9% 49.3
13 Indonesia 97 2.8 1.5% 80.5% 36.3
14 Australia 89 2.5 1.4% 81.9% 67.9
15 Malaysia 88 2.5 1.4% 83.2% 41.4
16 Norway 85 2.4 1.3% 84.6% 28.3
17 China 83 2.4 1.3% 85.9% 47.0
18 Egypt 67 1.9 1.1% 86.9% 54.4
19 Uzbekistan 65 1.9 1.0% 88.0% 33.2
20 Canada 56 1.6 0.9% 88.8% 8.6
21 Kuwait 55 1.6 0.9% 89.7% >100
22 Libya 53 1.5 0.8% 90.5% >100
23 Netherlands 50 1.4 0.8% 91.3% 22.3
24 Azerbaijan 48 1.4 0.8% 92.1% >100
25 Ukraine 39 1.1 0.6% 92.7% 58.7
Total World 6347.79 179.82 100% 65.1
Sum of Top 25 Countries 5885 166.7 92.7%
Rest of World 463 13.1 7.3%
Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
5
enabling natural gas to penetrate many more markets
through the development of many remote reserves once
considered to be stranded and uneconomic to develop.
Ongoing construction and plans to expand and build
new LNG receiving terminals in North America
(Canada, Mexico and the United States) are opening
up rapidly growing gas imports, destined to support
many new LNG supply chains worldwide. European
and Asian markets are also hungry for LNG.
But beyond the usual energy-demanding markets,
China and India have both emerged from the developing
world to become globally signifcant economies in their
own right, both requiring massive energy imports to
sustain future economic growth. But their approaches are
very diferent; China is focused on manufacturing, India
more on services. However, both have large populations
with aspirations to lead high-energy consuming lifestyles.
Together, they are promoting globalization that is putting
pressure on the world’s energy resources and existing
supply chain, traditionally directed to serving the OECD
world. Te rapid growth in China and India over the
last few years has precipitated huge increases in demand
for all energy sources, because of their lack of sufcient
indigenous energy resources. Tis has left the rest of
the world scrambling for the same sources of energy,
including natural gas. Te US is hampered by the myriad
permit approvals required and public opposition to siting
of LNG receiving terminals. Nevertheless, major US
companies and others are investing heavily in building
new LNG liquefaction infrastructure in Qatar, several
countries in West Africa and Russia’s Sakhalin Island.
Transportation is an essential aspect of the gas
business because gas reserves are often quite distant
from the main markets. Gas is far more cumbersome
than oil to transport, and the majority of gas is
transported by pipeline. Tere are well-developed
networks in Europe and North America and a relatively
adequate one in the former Soviet Union. However,
in its gaseous state, natural gas is quite bulky – for the
same time, a high-pressure pipeline can transmit only
about one-ffth of the amount of energy that can be
transmitted in an oil pipeline of the same size, even
though gas travels much faster. When gas is cooled to
–160

°C it becomes liquid and much more compact,
occupying 1/600 of its standard gas volume. Where
long overseas distances are involved, transporting gas
in its liquid state becomes economic. But the supply
chain consists of expensive and specialized facilities
both upstream and downstream, and generally requires
dedicated marine vessels.
Te LNG industry is set for a large and sustained
expansion as improved technology has reduced costs
and improved efciency along the entire supply chain
during the past decade. Tis shift in the dynamics of
the natural gas market will further commoditize and
diversify the natural gas globally. New LNG carriers
are 1000 ft long and require a minimum water depth
of 40 ft when fully loaded. Te global feet of LNG
carriers reached 217 by the end of 2006 (Wood et al.,
2006) with more than 11 million tons of LNG capacity.
Te order book for new LNG marine carriers to 2010
is some 120 frm and 32 proposed, meaning the future
feet may exceed 370 vessels by the end of 2010. Te feet
was just 90 vessels in 1995 and 127 vessels in 2000. Te
current feet transports more than 140 million metric
tons of LNG every year (converted to 7 Tcf ), about
23% of gas trade internationally and about 6.5% of
total gas consumed worldwide.
Below is a discussion of the state of natural
gas in three of the most important countries/
regions of the world which, for diferent reasons,
are defning the present and future of natural
gas in the world economy.
1-3 Russia: A Critical Evaluation of its
Natural Gas Resources
Te dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its
replacement by the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS), prominent among which was the Russian
Federation, was a signifcant geopolitical event, afecting
the subsequent development of Russian resources –
particularly natural gas. Contrary to widely held beliefs,
if current trends continue, Russia likely will have a severe
natural gas shortfall by 2010 (Moscow Institute of Energy
Research, 2007). Tis prediction is astonishing, given
that Russia has more gas reserves than any other country,
and one of the largest reserves-to-production ratios.
One of the reasons for the looming gas shortfall is
that over the past several years, Russia has not invested
sufciently and lacks the technology to develop new gas
felds to replace its rapidly depleting ones.
6
F
i
g
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Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
7
Tere are complicated reasons behind
the state of Russia’s natural gas industry. A
thorough understanding of the industry and its
history is required before we can discuss its future
(see Section 1-3.2).
Next, we examine Russia’s natural gas reserves,
production and transportation.
1-3.1 The Resource Base
Russia has the world’s largest proven natural gas
reserves, estimated at 1,680 Tcf (EIA, 2007), about
double those of Iran, the next largest. Russia is also the
largest gas producer and exporter. In 2004, Russia’s gas
production exceeded 22.4 Tcf and exports totaled 7.1
Tcf. In addition, the gas industry plays a signifcant
role in the Russian economy, contributing about
26% of total GDP in 2004 (ET, 2007). Fig. 1-2 is an
annotated map of Russia with all important natural
gas-related information (EIA, 2007, www.Gazprom.
com, and BP Statistical review, 2006).
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
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400
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*Urengoy had been the world’s
largest gas field for years until the
North Dome was discovered.
Rank Field Reserves Location
1 North Dome 1,200 Qatar/Iran
2 Urengoy 275 Russia
3 Yamburg 200 Russia
4 Orenburg 200 Russia
5 Shtokman 200 Russia
6 Umm Shaif/Abu el-Bukush 175 Abu Dhabi
7 Zapolyarnoye 150 Russia
8 Kharasevey 150 Russia
9 Bovanenko 125 Russia
10 Medvezh’ye 100 Russia
11 Hassi R’Mel 100 Algeria
12 South Pars 100 Iran
13 Panhandle-Hugoton 80 U.S.A.
U
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Table 1-2 The World’s Largest Natural Gas
Reservoirs (EIA, 1994-2004, Interfax,
2005,www.gazprom.com, ET, 2007)
Figure 1-1 compares Russian gas reserves with those
of the other major gas producing countries. Table 1-2
lists the 13 largest gas felds in the world. As is shown,
Russia owns two-thirds of them (ET, 2007, EIA, 2007,
www.Gazprom.com, and BP Statisitcal review, 2006).
Gazprom, tracing its origins to the Soviet Gas
Ministry, is the dominant gas company in Russia.
Fig. 1-3 shows Russia’s total gas production and
consumption and Gazprom’s contribution from 2000
to 2005, which accounts for about 80%. Gazprom
is not only Russia’s largest gas producer, it also owns
the entire gas pipeline infrastructure in Russia – all
155,000 km of it, along with the compressor stations.
In addition, Gazprom controls the sole means of
getting gas to domestic and export markets.
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Total Production
Gazprom's Share
Total Consumption
T
c
f
/
y
e
a
r
Figure 1-3 Russian gas production and consumption and
Gazprom’s contribution (EIA, 2004-2006, Interfax, 2005,
www.gazprom.com, ET, 2007)
Te reason that Russia has given Gazprom control
over its natural gas is the so-called “social obligation.”
Trough Gazprom, the Russian government subsidizes
its inefcient domestic industries with low-priced
natural gas. Gazprom sells most of its gas to domestic
customers at a considerable discount. Te wholesale
price of 1,000 m
3
of gas for a Russian household is
around $15.90 (about $0.45/Mscf ). For industrial
users, gas costs around $24.20 ($0.69/Mscf ). By
comparison, in the European Union, household tarifs
range from Finland’s $159 ($4.50/Mscf ) to Denmark’s
$735 ($20.82/Mscf, ET, 2007). Clearly, Gazprom
is losing large amounts of money on domestic sales,
compared to international market prices, and must rely
on export revenues for the diference.
Modern Fracturing
8
Gazprom’s major challenge is the aging of its major
producing gas felds. Production from these felds is
declining and studies project steep declines in Russia’s
overall natural gas output between 2008 and 2020.
According to projections from the Moscow-based Institute
of Energy Research (2006), Russia will face a gas shortfall
of about 100 Bm
3
by 2010. Considering that Russia owns
the largest gas reserves in the world and one of the largest
reserves-to-production ratios (81.5 years compared to
Algeria’s 55.4 and Canada’s 8.8, for example, from EIA,
2007, calculated by ET, 2007), the future of Russian
natural gas production eforts is important globally.
1-3.2 Russian Natural Gas Production
Gazprom holds about one-third of the world’s natural
gas reserves and produces about 80% of Russia’s
natural gas. Te remaining percentage comes from
independent producers. Te company operates 155,000
km of natural gas pipeline and 43 compressor stations.
As the world’s largest producer and exporter, Russia
is also a huge consumer of natural gas. Te country
produces an annual 21 Tcf, consuming 14.5 Tcf and
exporting the rest (2002 numbers from EIA and ET,
2007). Despite the country’s huge reserves, natural
gas production has remained essentially fat over the
past several years, with a mild production increase
(1.3%) forecast for 2008. In contrast to the natural gas
stagnation, oil production has fourished.
Te immediate future of natural gas production
in Russia does not allow for much optimism. Te
overall production decline forecast for Gazprom is
quite steep, as shown in Fig. 1-4 (Moscow Institute of
Energy Research, 2006).
Considering that Russia’s domestic consumption
is increasing by 2.5% annually, the current demand
in Europe, Turkey and the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) for up to 325 Bm
3
(ET,
2007), and China’s demand for 38 Bm
3
(Moscow
Institute of Energy Research, 2006) it’s clear that
additional sources of natural gas must be found if
Russia wants to play a major role in the future natural
gas market. It’s equally clear that the problem of Russia’s
looming gas shortage can only be solved by optimizing
existing felds and through the rapid development and
production of major felds such as Yamal, Shtokman
and Sakhalin. Obviously, implementing these solutions
will require a substantial investment that Gazprom has
not yet been able to make.
One scenario for the potential contribution
of independent producers shows a net increase of
100 Bm
3
per year by 2010 (Moscow Institute of
Energy Research, 2006).
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
2004 2010 2015 2020
C
o
m
b
i
n
e
d

B
c
m
/
y
e
a
r
Zapadno-Tarkosalinskoye
Komsomol'skoye
Zapolyarnoye
Medvezhye
Aner'yakhinskoye
Kharvutinskoye
Yabburgskoye
En-Yakhinskoye
Others
Orenburg
Astrakhan
Urengoyskoye(achimov)
Ety-Purovskoye
Yuzhno-Russkoye
Vyngayahinskoye
Pestsovoye
Yubileynoye Urengoyskoye
G
azprom
’s
fo
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p
ro
d
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tio
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Figure 1-4 Gazprom’s production decline forecast (Moscow
Institute of Energy Research, 2007)
1-4 Alaska, its Natural Gas Resources
and their mpact on US mports
It has been known for many decades that Alaska has
prolifc hydrocarbon resources, frst with the discovery
of oil in the south central part (Cook Inlet) in the
1960s and then with the 1969 discovery of Prudhoe
Bay, the US’s largest feld. Oil has been successfully
commercialized in Alaska since the 1970s construction
of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline that stretches from the
North Slope to Southern Alaska. From there, oil is
shipped to the lower 48 states.
Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
9
Despite the success of Alaskan oil production,
and although it is widely known that natural gas
exists in large quantities in the state, two important
questions have always arisen: 1) in what kind and
size of reservoirs is the gas trapped and 2) how can
it be commercialized? Furthermore, after 30 years of
Alaskan oil production and almost 15 years after its
production peak, substantial natural gas exploitation
from the state is still not forthcoming.
We are convinced that Alaska has a very large
natural gas resource base, larger than commonly
accepted. Beyond the conventional gas reserves
on the North Slope (about 100 Tcf ) and Cook
Inlet (at least 30 Tcf ), perhaps as much as 1000
Tcf are in the form of coalbed methane and, at
least, 500 Tcf as natural gas hydrates (Anchorage
Chamber of Commerce, 2005).
Economic and technical obstacles abound. Te
cost for exploiting conventional reserves, with or
without government subsidies, has been a hindering
factor, but other factors such as the emerging
large LNG trade are having an impact. Te most
important question is whether Alaskan gas will be
commercialized any time in the foreseeable future,
and we shall discuss this issue in detail. Tis has major
implications on the future of the state, the USA and
the natural gas trade into the country.
1-4.1 Alaskan Reserves and Production
Tere are two major hydrocarbon producing areas
in Alaska today: the Cook Inlet region in south-
central Alaska and the Prudhoe Bay complex on the
North Slope. Te proved gas reserves for the Cook
Inlet and the North Slope are 2 Tcf (6% of total)
and 27 Tcf (94% of the total), respectively (EIA,
2007). Currently all the gas produced on the North
Slope is re-injected for pressure maintenance except
for the gas needed to maintain feld operations
and fuel the local villages.
Figure 1-5 shows the historical production and
the prediction of natural gas production to 2025.
As can be seen, the 2006 production from the two
areas is approximately 490 Bcf per year of gas and
is expected to decrease to 240 Bcf per year by 2025
(Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2006).
Clearly, Cook Inlet gas production is on decline while
North Slope gas production remains stable – with its
market limited to the local market without a natural
gas export pipeline to larger markets.
0
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Cook Inlet North Slope
Figure 1-5 Historic and forecast gas production (Alaska
Department of Natural Resources, 2006)
Te forecast in Fig. 1-5 is only for the current proved
reserves of natural gas. If we consider the unconventional
resources in Alaska, the natural gas resource base grows
much larger. However the technology and economics
for developing the unconventional resource base are
major blockers. Te two main unconventional gas
reservoirs that capture a lot of attention are coalbed
methane and natural gas hydrates.
It is estimated that coalbed methane is prevalent
in the northern and southern parts of the state, shown
on the map in Fig. 1-6 (Alaska Department of Natural
Resources, 2006).
1
15
Baja California Sur
Sonora
Guadalupe
Navojoa
Huatabampo
Empalme
Ciudad Constitucion
Ciudad Obregon
Los Mochis
Guaymas
Hermosillo
La Paz
Bering Sea
Pacific Ocean
Canada
Russia
Alaska
Bituminous & Higher Rank
Subbituminous
Lignite
Rual Sites with Sufficient
Data for Drill Testing
of Coalbed Methane
Potential
Barrow
Fort Yukon
Nome
Cordova
Fairbanks
Anchorage
Figure 1-6 Location of potential coalbed methane
reservoirs (Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2006)
Modern Fracturing
10
Alaska’s estimated coal resources exceed 5.5
trillion tons and may contain up to 1,000 Tcf of gas
(Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2006).
In 1994 the Alaska Div. of Oil and Gas drilled the
state’s frst coalbed methane test well near the town of
Wasilla, located in the northern portion of Cook Inlet
Basin. Te well was drilled to a total depth of 1245 ft;
coal was continuously encountered, with the thickest
seam measuring 6.5 ft and a net coal thickness of 41
ft. Tirteen seams were sampled for gas content. Te
results were encouraging, but as elsewhere they are
likely to sufer from the standard CBM problems:
low permeability, water disposal and difcult and
expensive application of hydraulic fracturing and
horizontal well technologies.
Our current assessment of the total resource base
for natural gas in Alaska, derived from a number of
references, is shown in Fig. 1-7.
North Slope
Hydrates,
529, 32%
Cook Inlet
Conventional,
30, 2%
North Slope
Conventional,
100, 6%
CBM, 1000,
60%
Figure 1-7 Natural gas resource base in Alaska (Williams
et al., 2005, Meyers, 2005, Hite, 2006, and Kornfeld, 2002)
It is clear the 2006 resource assessment shows
the majority of potential reserves are locked in
unconventional reservoirs. For these plays to be
developed, investment and technology hurdles will
need to be overcome.
1-4.2 The Uncertain Destiny of the North Slope of
Alaska Natural Gas
Methods to deliver natural gas to market from the North
Slope of Alaska have been studied and proposed for over
30 years. Te various schemes can be grouped into three
major categories, with variations in each (Anchorage
Chamber of Commerce, 2005). See Fig. 1-8.
• A gas pipeline from the North Slope through Canada
to the Lower 48 states.
• An All-Alaska gas pipeline from the North Slope to
Valdez, where the gas would be converted into LNG
and taken to markets outside Alaska in LNG tankers.
• A “spur line” to take natural gas from one or more
of-take points on the main gas pipeline (whichever
route it takes) and deliver that gas to customers and
users in Alaska.
1
15
Baja California Sur
Sonora
Sinaloa
Guadalupe
Navojoa
Huatabampo
Empalme
Ciudad Constitucion
Ciudad Obregon
Los Mochis
Guasave
Guaymas
Hermosillo
La Paz
Bering Sea
Pacific Ocean
Canada
Alaska
Anchorage
Juneau
“All Alaska”
LNG shipped from “All Alaska”
“Y-Branches from ”All Alaska”
Northern Route
Southern Route
Barrow
Fort Yukon
Nome
Unalaska
Cordova
Fairbanks
Prince
Rupert
Figure 1-8 Potential Alaskan natural gas pipeline routes
Tere are two variations on the gas pipeline to the
Lower 48 states proposal: the Northern Route and the
Southern Route. Te Northern Route, also referred to as the
ARC over-the-top route (ARC is for the Artic Resources
Company that frst proposed such a gas pipeline in
the early 1980s), would start from Prudhoe Bay, move
ofshore into the Beaufort Sea and run parallel to the
coastline eastward into Canada to the Mackenzie River
Delta, where up to 20 Tcf of natural gas reserves are just
waiting to be produced. From there, if Canadians have
already built a pipeline to transport the Mackenzie River
reserves to Alberta, the Alaskan Northern Route would
simply reach and merge with it.
On the other hand, if Canadians haven’t started
yet to exploit the Mackenzie Delta reserves and
a pipeline to Alberta is not available, the Northern
Route pipeline would be extended to Alberta, and
Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
11
in all probability it would still ofer the prospect to
carry also the Mackenzie gas along with the North
Slope gas. After the Alaskan natural gas is delivered in
Alberta, there still would be the open issue of how to
carry it down to the rest of the United States.
Te two systems currently discussed and proposed
to accomplish this goal are:
• Rerouting Prudhoe Bay natural gas in the Canadian
pipelines network that currently delivers Alberta gas
to markets in Canada and the Lower 48 states.
• Building a dedicated pipeline that would transport
Prudhoe Bay natural gas straight to the Northern
Midwest pipeline network.
Te Southern Route, also known as the Alaska
Natural Gas Transportation System or as the Foothills,
would also start from Prudhoe Bay, but it would go
south half-way the length of Alaska, just south of
Fairbanks, and then cross into the Yukon and north
eastern British Columbia.
Te All-Alaska route, also known as the Yukon
Pacifc LNG Proposal, would start from Prudhoe Bay, run
for 805 miles parallel to the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline to
Valdez and then turn to the east to Anderson Bay.
A fnal (but tremendously important) part of the
All-Alaska proposal would be the construction of a
liquefaction and shipment plant in the Anderson Bay, to
enable shipping as LNG the natural gas coming from the
North Slope to Asian markets (Japan mainly) and potential
terminals along the Canadian and US West Coast.
1-4.3 Alaska in the Context of the United States and
Canadian Natural Gas
Te current situation of the oil and gas industry in
Canada adds substantial reasons for considering the
over-the-top Northern Route (the green line on Fig.
1-8) the most suitable option for the whole North-
American continent.
Canada has been a net exporter of natural gas
for many years, and all of that exported gas has been
imported into the United States. Tis gas comprises
about 90% of the natural gas imported into the
US and about 17% of the total US natural gas
consumption. Although this relationship has been
successful for many years, Canada can no longer
be relied upon to single-handedly secure the future
of US natural gas supply.
A declining conventional natural gas resource
has pushed Canada into investing in arctic, CBM and
tight gas plays. To date however, those unconventional
resources have contributed a very small percentage to
that country’s overall production of natural gas.
As is apparent in Fig. 1-9, the conventional
natural gas supply in Canada is predicted to
decline by roughly 35% from 2005 to 2020, while
the production of unconventional/stranded gas is
expected to increase dramatically by 2012 (CAPP,
2006a). Tis assumes in part the construction of the
Mackenzie pipeline to get arctic gas to the south as
well as an expectation that CBM will be economic
to produce within the next two decades.
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Mackenzie Delta
Coalbed Methane
Nova Scotia
Conventional Gas
Figure 1-9, Canadian natural gas production forecast
(CAPP, 2006a)
Te amount of gas Canada will have left over
to export to the US remains in question, and this
is what may push the building of the North Slope
pipeline. Te frst issue is that Canadian natural gas
consumption is expected to increase by 1.6% per year.
Tis equates to a demand of almost 12 Bcf per day by
2020 (Stringham, 2006.). However, this consumption
does not include the gas that will be needed to produce
the Canadian tar sands.
Tat Canada expects to be producing about 4
million barrels a day by 2020 (CAPP, 2006b, Fig. 1-
10) means more of Canada’s natural gas will be used
for this purpose. In fact, the 0.5 Mcf of gas needed to
process each barrel of this crude equates to at least 2
Bcf per day natural gas needed to meet the production
forecast for Canada’s oil sands.
Modern Fracturing
12
0
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/
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Conventional Oil Sands
Figure 1-10 Prediction of Canadian heavy oil sands
growth (CAPP, 2006b)
Tis, of course, causes some concern because the
total natural gas production from Canada in 2020 is
expected to be about 18 Bcf per day, and Canada will
be using 14 Bcf per day for its needs. Tis leaves 4 Bcf
per day suitable to be exported to the US. However,
the demand in the US over the next several years is far
greater than what Canada can provide.
Te over-the-top Northern Route is surely not the
ultimate solution to the constantly growing hunger for
natural gas in North America. Te over-the-top pipeline
may never be built because of competition from LNG
imports, which are expected to boom in the next several
years if additional terminals can be built.
Our assessment of the Alaskan gas resources, and
in particular the North Slope basin, indicates some
opportunities to develop a sustained market for natural
gas with the U.S. Lower 48 states and Eastern Asian
destinations (mainly Japan, South Korea and Taiwan)
via LNG shipments. Tis motivates all the projects
proposed by several groups of advocates for transporting
the natural gas produced in the North Slope into the
Lower 48 states market, as well as Eastern Asia.
Nevertheless, a wide set of reasons leads us to believe
that these projects cannot even be considered marginally
competitive to LNG, especially when compared to the
economically superior LNG shipped from the recently
developed felds and facilities in countries such as Qatar,
Russia, Australia and Indonesia. In fact, as is usual for
large construction projects, the technical feasibility of
North Slope natural gas exploitation must be weighed
against the inexorable balance of the economics. Tis
is the bottleneck where all the advocated Alaskan gas
pipeline schemes become difcult to justify.
1-5 Qatar Natural Gas
Qatar is a small, independent nation on the western
coast of the Persian Gulf. Te country has good
relationships with its Middle Eastern neighbors
like Iran, and it has been leading the region
in democratic reforms.
Before the discovery of its vast hydrocarbon
reserves, dominated by natural gas, Qatar was a poor
country. However, by 2006 Qatar had achieved one of
the world’s highest per capita gross domestic products
(Central Intelligence Agency, 2006).
Figure 1-11 shows that compared to its neighbors
in the Middle East, Qatar is a leader in natural gas
reserves. Iran and Qatar have comparable amounts of
gas reserves. Tis is because Qatar’s super giant North
Field and Iran’s super giant South Pars Field overlie on
the broad Qatar arch. Te Qatar arch subdivides the
Khuf formations into two basins located northwest
(North Field) and south east (South Pars). Te North
Field reservoir boundary is the political boundary
between Iranian and Qatari waters as shown in Fig.
1-12. (Note: Te names of the felds in Fig. 1-12, at
times cause confusion. Qatar’s North Field is north of
Qatar but south of the Iranian demarcation boundary.
Te Iranian feld known as South Pars is actually
in southern Iranian waters but north of Qatar’s
North Field. Te two felds constitute essentially
a single geological structure, one of the largest gas
accumulations in the world.)
0
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900
1000
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m
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n
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a
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a
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g
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p
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a
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U
A
E
S
a
u
d
i

A
r
a
b
i
a
Q
a
t
a
r
I
r
a
n
Figure 1-11 Dominant natural gas producers in the
Middle East (after EIA, 2006)
Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
13
Al Manamah
Doha Persian Gulf
North Field
South Pars
Figure 1-12 The North Field extends off the coast of
Qatar and is divided from Iran’s South Pars Field by a
political boundary
1-5.1 North Field Characteristics and Development
Te North Field is the largest non-associated gas
feld in the world with estimated reserves of 900
Tcf of gas. Al-Siddiqi and Dawe (1999) explain that
the North Field produces from four intervals in the
Khuf formation. Tese zones are Permian dolomite
carbonates located at depths of 10,000 to 13,000 ft
with thickness ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 ft. Te
gas produced is rich in condensates.
Given the tremendous size of natural gas reserves,
major investments for the production and transportation
of natural gas have followed.
QatarGas was founded 13 years after the North
Field was discovered. Eight years later, in 1992, the frst
customer, Chubu Electric of Japan, signed a sales and
purchase agreement (SPA) with QatarGas for 4 million
metric tons per year (Mta) of LNG. Two years later,
Chubu Electric and other buyers signed a second SPA
for 2 Mta of LNG. Two years later, in January 1997,
the frst LNG ship delivered gas to Japan. Efcient
production, processing, refrigeration, storing, loading
and shipping processes for LNG established by
QatarGas have allowed it to deliver 100 loads of LNG
to Japan every year since 1997 (EIA, 2007).
In October of 2002, BP signed an SPA with
QatarGas for 0.75 Mta of LNG to deliver to Spain.
To exploit the tremendous demand for natural gas
in Europe, ExxonMobil signed an agreement with
QatarGas to deliver 15 Mta of LNG to the UK market.
A year later, in June 2005, Shell signed a SPA for 7.8
Mta of LNG for Europe and North America. Te
contracts for LNG have been progressively getting
bigger and bigger since the frst SPA with Japan.
RasGas was founded in 1993. In 1995, an SPA
with KOGAS, a Korean company, was agreed upon.
Two years later the SPA was increased to 4.9 Mta, and
in April of 1999 the frst LNG cargo left for Korea.
Te delivery time of LNG to KOGAS was four years,
like the 4-year delivery time between QatarGas and
Chubu Electric. Also, an SPA with Petronet of India
was signed to deliver 5 Mta of LNG. Te delivery
time for this order was fve years, and the frst LNG
cargo left for India in 2004. RasGas also signed a 25-
year SPA for 3.5 Mta of LNG with Edison Gas of
the United States. Te SPA agreement was altered to
increase the LNG volume to 4.6 Mta in 2003. RasGas
signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to deliver 15.6
Mta of LNG to the United States. In February of
2005, an SPA with Distrigas of Belgium was signed to
deliver 2.07 Mta of LNG (EIA, 2007).
It is interesting to note the disparity in development
between Qatar and Iran. Qatar and Iran have comparable
gas reserves. Despite its sizeable gas reserves, Iran remains
a net importer of natural gas. According to Wood et al.
(2006), Iran’s surging internal demand for natural gas and
stif gas market competition from Russia and Azerbaijan
will present Iranian leadership with difcult hurdles to
overcome in order to externally market those reserves.
While Iran is relatively isolated politically, Qatar has
been busy forging relationships with the major natural
gas consumers such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and
the United States. Te Qatari civil reforms, natural gas
resource development, and good political relationships
have culminated in its enormous success.
1-6 Fracturing for the Effcient use of
Existing Resources and for ncreasing
Recovery Factor
Since its advent in the 1950s, hydraulic fracturing has
proven to be a very robust technology, lending itself
to many diferent types of reservoirs. Additionally,
although fracturing is a very complex process, it
remains – for the most part – extremely forgiving of the
Modern Fracturing
14
industry’s overall general lack of expertise. Tese two
factors have led to fracturing becoming the most widely
used completion process.
Fracturing has its roots frmly planted in the gas
production industry. Even with the widespread use of
fracturing for oil and injection wells, gas well fracturing
is still the largest sector of the industry, by a wide margin
(see Fig. 1-13). Te majority of gas reserves in North
America are only produced as a result of hydraulic
fracturing. However, apart from a few specifc locations
(such as China, Argentina, Australia and – to a lesser
extent – Russia), the global gas industry has failed to
embrace this technology to even a fraction of the extent
it is used in North America (see Fig. 1-14).
Tight Gas
42%
Unconventional Gas
28%
Oil
25%
Other
5%
Figure 1-13 Targets of Fracture Treatments Performed in
the USA in 2006 (BJ Services, 2006)
USA
70%
Canada
17%
Rest of the World
(excl. China) 13%
Figure 1-14 Estimated Proportion of Fracturing
Treatments Performed in the USA and Canada,
compared to the Rest of the World, excluding China
(BJ Services, 2007)
One reason for this is the relative size, immaturity
and prolifc productivity of the gas reservoirs outside
North America (see earlier discussions in this Chapter).
Another reason is that the USA is the only country in the
world where the landowners often own the mineral rights
under their land. In every other country, the government
controls the mineral resources and decides how they are
exploited. Consequently, in the US there is often a very
fragmented approach to the depletion of a reservoir,
habitually concentrating on wellbore tactics, whilst
elsewhere gas companies are more inclined towards the
“big picture,” allowing more focus on feld development
strategies. Canada sits somewhere in the middle, having
inherited the British system of Crown ownership of all
mineral rights, while at the same time being heavily
infuenced by the activities of the US gas industry. In
any case, small operators, eager to maximize short-term
cash fow, have always been the driving force behind the
popularity of fracturing in the US.
Outside the US, Canada, China, Argentina and –
possibly – Russia, fracturing has failed to reach the “critical
mass” that has allowed the easy exploitation of its potential
in these countries. Operating companies often complain
that service companies do not have the infrastructure
and expertise necessary for the cost-efective execution of
fracturing operations in a specifc geographic area. At the
same time, service companies complain that operators do
not provide enough work to economically justify building
up suitable equipment and personnel resources. Tis is a
“Catch-22” situation that can only be overcome by a)
feld development projects that are large enough to justify
the introduction of a complete fracturing operation,
and b) having an operating company (or companies)
with sufcient confdence in the fracturing process to
proceed with fracturing-dependent feld development.
Outside the above-mentioned countries, there are very
few companies with sufcient institutional confdence
in the fracturing process to make this happen. Even
companies based in North America with considerable
experience in fracturing seem to be unable to translate
this confdence internationally.
However, confdence in the fracturing process is
required if many countries and companies are to fully
exploit their gas resources. It is hoped that the processes
and experiences described in this book will help
signifcantly with this process.
Chapter 1 ntroduction to this Book
15
Ultimately, producing hydrocarbons from a reservoir
comes down to efcient management of the pressure in
the reservoir. Pressure, which is stored energy (or more
accurately, energy per unit volume), lies at the heart of
everything we do. Te basic principle of hydrocarbon
production is the fact that liquids and gases will move
from a region of high energy (or pressure) to a region of
low energy, if a fow path exists. When we drill a well,
we are creating a region of low pressure at the wellbore,
and the conductive path is provided by the formation’s
permeability. If we are lucky, there is sufcient energy left
in the liquids and gases to reach the surface, once they
have arrived at the wellbore. In many cases, however, extra
energy has to be supplied via pumps or gas lift systems,
in order to achieve fow to the surface. Ultimately, the
efcient production of a reservoir is all about getting the
maximum amount of oil and gas out, while using the
minimum energy to do so.
In gas reservoirs, it is difcult to provide extra energy
after the gas reaches the wellbore. Although the density of
the gas means that far less energy is required to reach the
surface, often there is insufcient energy to produce the
gas at sufcient rates.
In its most basic form, fracturing can be thought of
as a process that minimizes the energy required for the
gas to reach the wellbore. Tis has several benefts:
1. It leaves more energy available for bringing the
gas to the surface.
2. It can reduce the minimum energy (i.e. pressure)
required in the reservoir to achieve economic fow
to the wellbore, thereby extending production
beyond reserve levels that might otherwise be
considered “depleted.” In gas reservoirs, pressure
is reserves, and so minimizing energy losses during
production can signifcantly increase the ultimate
recovery from the reservoir.
3. It minimizes secondary pressure-dependent efects
such as water production (and associated problems
such as scale deposition, fnes migration and hydrate
formation), retrograde condensation within the
reservoir, and non-Darcy fow.
Fracturing efectively allows the wellbore to achieve
a signifcant size in comparison with the reservoir.
Tis allows the wellbore’s localized depletion to spread
far further into the reservoir, providing much greater
depletion at the drainage perimeter. Tis efect can
be maximized if the fracture azimuth is known. Wells
can be drilled further apart in the direction of fracture
propagation and closer together in the perpendicular
direction, allowing maximum depletion of resources.
Such a strategy signifcantly reduces the localized
or “pin-point” depletion caused by the wellbores
and spreads the efects of the depletion much more
evenly across the reservoir.
Finally, it must be remembered that although
fracturing can be very efectively used to redevelop a
mature feld (see Chapter 13), it reaches maximum
efectiveness when applied to a new reservoir:
1. After the fracture azimuth has been obtained,
the placing of wells can be planned to allow for
increased drainage efciency in the direction of
fracture propagation. Tis could easily result in the
need for fewer wells.
2. Wellbores can be planned to facilitate fracturing.
As discussed in Chapter 5, the wellbore can be
completed in such a fashion as to make fracturing
easy and reliable (whereas the completion often
does just the opposite). In addition, perforations
can also be planned to maximize the efectiveness
of fracturing operations (see Chapter 6). Of all
the things under our control, the perforations will
have the single biggest efect on the outcome of any
individual treatment. Finally, multiple intervals can
be more efectively and efciently stimulated on new
wells than on existing wells (see Chapter 9).
3. Surface facilities also can be planned to facilitate
fracturing, especially with regard to fuid recovery
and handling of returned proppant.
4. Long-term relationships can be built between
operating companies and service providers. Tis
allows for building and retaining experience
and expertise in both operational and technical
personnel. Tis also improves project economics
due to efciencies of scale and a greater ability to
plan for the long term.
Hydraulic fracturing of gas wells is no longer a
luxury – instead, it is now a necessity. For economic,
environmental and political reasons, operating
Modern Fracturing
16
companies and national operating companies have
an obligation to maximize the recovery from their
resources, while doing this as efciently as possible.
Tere is no question that hydraulic fracturing will
continue to be a major tool for achieving these goals.
Fracturing will only increase in importance as reserves
become more depleted and harder to exploit.
Hydraulic fracturing remains an inherently complex
process, and as a result is viewed with suspicion by many
resources owners and asset managers. However, the
reality is that fracturing is no more complex than any
number of widely accepted practices, such as drilling
deviated wellbores, performing pressure transient
analysis, studying petrophysics and stimulating the
reservoir. Yet these techniques are widely practised
and trusted throughout the world, whereas hydraulic
fracturing remains a largely unexploited technique
outside of North America.
Consequently, the authors of this book hope its
publication will have two profound efects. First, we
hope this book will help to improve the techniques
and practices employed by those who are already
familiar with hydraulic fracturing. Secondly, we hope
this book will increase the utilization of fracturing
technology in reservoirs and geographic areas that
have hitherto failed to appreciate the potential of this
reservoir development technique.
References
“Alaska Oil & Gas Report,” Alaska Department of
Natural Resources, Div. of Oil and Gas, Anchorage,
Alaska (May 2006).
Al-Siddiqi, A., and Dawe, R.A.: “Qatar’s Oil and
Gasfelds: A Review,” Journal of Petroleum Geology
(October 1999) 22, 4, 417.
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce: “Natural Gas and
Alaska’s Future,” 2005.
BJ Services Company: Internal Marketing Information
(2006).
BJ Services Company: Internal Marketing Information
(2007).
BP Statistical Review, 2006
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP):
“Canadian Natural Gas, A stable Source of Energy
Supply,” 2006a.
CAPP: “Canadian Crude Oil Supply and Forecast
2006-2020,” 2006b.
Central Intelligence Agency: Fact Book, 2006.
Energy Information Administration: Annual Energy
Outlook, 2007.
Energy Information Administration, 2007 http://www.
eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table18.xls
Energy Tribune, Various articles, February, 2007.
Hite, D.M.: “Cook Inlet Resource Potential ‘Missing
Fields’ Gas (and oil) Distributive/Endowment A
Log-Normal Perspective,” presented at the South
Central Alaska Energy Forum, September 2006.
Kornfeld, S.: “Alaska North Slope Gas Task Force,”
Presentation to the US Department of Energy,
April 2002.
Meyers, M.D.: “Alaska Oil and Gas Activities,”
presentation to Te House Special Committee on
Oil and Gas, January 2005.
Moscow Institute of Energy Research: “Russia’s Natural
Gas Future,” 2006 (in Russian).
Stringham, G.: “Canadian Natural Gas Outlook,”
presentation by CAPP, October 2006.
Williams, T.E., Millheim, K., and Liddell, B.: “Methane
Hydrate Production from Alaskan Permafrost,
Final Report,” (March 2005).
Wood, D., Mokhatab, S., and Economides, M.J.:
“Iran Stuck in Neutral,” Energy Tribune
(December 2006).
Wood, D., Mokhatab, S., and Economides, M.J.:
“Global Trade in Natural Gas and LNG Expands
and Diversifes,” Hydrocarbon Processing, 2007.
www.interfax.com, 2006
www.Gazprom.com, 2007
Dr. Xiuli Wang is a petroleum engineer with BP in Houston, currently functioning as a completion engineer
with worldwide responsibilities. She serves as the project leader of a major companywide project in injection
well completions and sand control. She has more than seven years of service with BP, from work as a
reservoir engineer to full-feld modeling work. She supported the completion team as a petroleum engineer,
developing fux models and guidelines for minimizing erosion of producer well screens. Finally, she was the
lead production engineer for a major feld in the continental shelf. Before immigrating to the United States,
Wang earned a MS degree from China’s premier technical university, Tsinghua University, followed by six
years of work with one of China’s major petroleum companies, Sinopec. She joined BP after earning a PhD
in chemical engineering, with a number of professional publications in the fundamentals of multi-phase
and complex fow through porous media. She was recently featured in a major journal as an exemplary
representative of Chinese-born engineers employed by the US based petroleum industry. In 2007, she was
named the US 2007 Asian American Engineer of the Year.
Michael J. Economides is a professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and the
managing partner of a petroleum engineering and petroleum strategy consulting frm. His interests include
petroleum production and petroleum management with a particular emphasis on natural gas, natural gas
transportation, LNG, CNG and processing; advances in process design of very complex operations, and
economics and geopolitics. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Energy Tribune. Previously he was the
Samuel R. Noble Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University and served as chief scientist
of the Global Petroleum Research Institute (GPRI). Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M University,
Economides was director of the Institute of Drilling and Production at the Leoben Mining University
in Austria. Before that, he worked in a variety of senior technical and managerial positions with a major
petroleum services company. Publications include authoring or co-authoring 14 professional textbooks and
books, including Te Color Of Oil, and more than 200 journal papers and articles. Economides does a wide
range of industrial consulting, including major retainers by national oil companies at the country level and
by Fortune 500 companies. He has had professional activities in over 70 countries.
19
Chapter 2
Natural Gas Production
Michael J. Economides, University of Houston and
Xiuli Wang, BP
2-1 ntroduction
Te natural gas we use in everyday life - as a
source of space heating after combustion, for power
generation even as industrial feedstock - is primarily
methane. Such fuid has been stripped of higher-order
hydrocarbons. Tis is not how natural gas appears just
one or two steps before its ultimate use.
At the present time there are two main sources for
natural gas as a petroleum production fuid.
First, gas is found in association with oil. Almost
all oil reservoirs, even those that in-situ are above their
bubble point pressure, will shed some natural gas, which
is produced at the surface with oil and then separated
in appropriate surface facilities. Te relative proportions
of gas and oil produced depend on the physical and
thermodynamic properties of the specifc crude oil
system, the operating pressure downhole, and the
pressure and temperature of the surface separators.
Te second type of gas is produced from reservoirs
that contain primarily gas. Usually such reservoirs are
considerably deeper and hotter than oil reservoirs. We
will deal with the production characteristics of these
reservoirs in this chapter.
Tere are other sources of natural gas, one of which
(coalbed methane desorbed from coal formations) is
already in commercial use. Tis process is described
in relative detail in Chapter 11 of this book. In the far
future, production from massive deposits of natural
gas hydrates is likely, but such eventuality is outside
the scope of this book.
2-2 diosyncrasies of Dry Gas, Wet Gas
and Gas Condensates
Petroleum fuids found in nature, are always multi-
component mixtures of hydrocarbons. Characterizing
these fuids is difcult both from a scientifc/laboratory
point of view and in production operations. Tus,
petroleum engineers have traditionally examined oil
feld hydrocarbons in the context of phase behavior,
separating the mixture into liquid and gas. Fig. 2-1
shows a two-phase envelope with a pseudocritical
point (C) separating the bubble-point curve (AC)
from the dew point curve (BC) at a constant
composition. Emanating from the pseudocritical
point are equal saturation quality curves (DC,
EC) inside the two-phase envelope. To the right of
the pseudocritical point is the maximum possible
temperature, called the cricondentherm.
Natural gas reservoirs whose pressure and
temperature lie to the right of the cricondentherm
are known as “dry gas” reservoirs. If fuids from
these reservoirs stay outside of the two-phase
envelope in traversing a pressure and temperature
path from the reservoir to the wellhead,
they will produce only dry gas.
If the path from reservoir to surface carries
the fuid into the two-phase envelope – below the
cricondentherm – “wet gas” is produced.
Figure 2-1 Phase diagram showing regions of retrograde
condensate
Between the critical point and the cricondentherm,
liquid emerges as the pressure declines below the dew
point value (at a constant temperature) from point 1 to
point 2, shown in Fig. 2-1. As pressure decreases from
point 2 to point 3, the amount of liquid in the reservoir
increases. Further pressure reduction causes liquid to re-
vaporize. Tis is the region of retrograde condensation
(McCain, 1973). Many natural gas reservoirs behave in
this manner. During production from such reservoirs, the
pressure gradient formed between the reservoir pressure
and the fowing bottomhole pressure may result in liquid
condensation near the wellbore (Wang, 2000).
Modern Fracturing
20
One way to prevent condensate formation is
to maintain the fowing well bottomhole pressure
above the dew point pressure. Tis is often not
satisfactory because the reservoir pressure drop may
not be sufcient to achieve economic production
rate. An alternative is to allow condensate to form
but occasionally to inject methane gas into the
producing well. Te gas dissolves and sweeps the
condensate into the reservoir. Te well is then put
back in production. Tis approach is repeated several
times in the life of the well. It is known as gas cycling
(Sanger and Hagoort, 1998).
2-3 nfow from Natural Gas Reservoirs
2-3.1 Fundamentals of Non-Darcy Flow
in Porous Media

Fluid fow is afected by the competing inertial and
viscous efects, combined by the well-known Reynolds
number whose value delineates laminar from turbulent
fow. In porous media the limiting Reynolds number is
equal to 1 based on the average grain diameter (Wang
and Economides, 2004).
Because permeability and grain diameter are
well connected (Yao and Holditch, 1993), for small
permeability values (e.g., less than 0.1 md) the production
rate is generally small, fow is laminar near the crucial
sandface and it is controlled by Darcy’s Law:
− =
dp
dx k
v
g
g
g
µ
, (2-1)
where x represents the distance, p the pressure, v
g

the gas velocity, μ
g
the gas viscosity, k
g
the efective
permeability to gas. A small amount of connate water
is almost always present besides the gas. Te water
saturation is often small and it does not afect the gas
permeability signifcantly. Terefore, k
g
is often equal
to k, the single-phase permeability.
Non-Darcy fow occurs in the near-wellbore
region of high-capacity gas and condensate reservoirs
as the fow area is reduced substantially, the velocity
increases, inertial efect becomes important, and the
gas fow becomes non-Darcy. Te relation between
pressure gradient and velocity can be described by the
Forchheimer

(1914) equation:
− = +
dp
dx k
v v
g
g
g g g g
µ
ρ β
2
,
(2-2)
where ρ
g
is the gas density and β
g
is the efective non-
Darcy coefcient to gas. Te condensate liquid may
fow if its saturation is above the critical condensate
saturation, S
cc
(Wang and Mohanty, 1999a). Additional
condensate dropout because of the further reduced
pressure will aggravate the situation. Terefore,
two phenomena emerge Non-Darcy efects and a
substantial reduction in the relative permeability to
gas. Because of the radial nature of fow, the near well
bore region is critical to the productivity of a well.
Tis is true in all wells, but it becomes particularly
serious in gas-condensate reservoirs.
Forchheimer’s equation describes high-velocity,
single-phase fow in isotropic media. Many naturally-
occurring porous media are, however, anisotropic
(Wang et al., 1999). A direct understanding of
multiphase non-Darcy fow behavior in porous media
that are anisotropic at the pore-scale is studied elsewhere
(Wang, 2000, Wang and Mohanty, 1999b).
2-3.2 Transient Flow
To characterize gas fow in a reservoir under transient
conditions, the combination of the generalized Darcy’s
law (rate equation) and the continuity equation
can be used. Tus:
φ
ρ
ρ
µ


= ∇ ∇











t
k
p , (2-3)
where φ is porosity, and in radial coordinates:
φ
ρ
ρ
µ


=















t r r
k
r
p
r
1
.
(2-4)
Because gas density is a strong function of pressure (in
contrast to oil, which is considered incompressible),
the real gas law can be employed:
ρ = =
m
V
pM
ZRT
, (2-5)
and therefore
φ
µ












=















t
p
Z r r
k
Z
rp
p
r
1
.

(2-6)
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
21
In an isotropic reservoir with constant permeability,
Eq. 2-6 can be simplifed to:
φ
µ k t
p
Z r r
p
Z
r
p
r












=















1
.

(2-7)
Performing the diferentiation on the right-hand
side of Eq. 2-7 - assuming that the viscosity and gas
deviation factor are a small functions of pressure -
and rearranging gives:
φµ
kp
p
t
p
r r
p
r


=


+


2 2 2
2
2
1
.

(2-8)
For an ideal gas, c
g
= 1/p and, as a result, Eq. 2-8 leads
to:


+


=


2 2
2
2 2
1 p
r r
p
r
c
k
p
t
φµ
.

(2-9)
Tis approximation looks exactly like the classic
difusivity equation for oil. Te solution would look
exactly like the solution of the equation for oil, but
instead of p, the pressure squared, p
2
, should be used,
as a reasonable approximation.
Al-Hussainy and Ramey (1966) used a far more
appropriate and exact solution by employing the real
gas pseudo-pressure function, defned as:
m p
p
Z
dp
p
p
o
( ) , =

2
µ
(2-10)
where p
o
is some arbitrary reference pressure (usually
zero). Te diferential pseudo-pressure, Δm( p),
defned as m(

p) – m(

p
wf
), is then the driving force
in the reservoir.

Using Eq. 2-10 and the chain rule:


=




m p
t
m p
p
p
t
( ) ( )
. (2-11)
Similarly,


=


m p
r
p
Z
p
r
( )
.
2
µ
(2-12)

Terefore, Eq. 2-9 becomes


+


=


2
2
1 m p
r r
m p
r
c
k
m p
t
t
( ) ( ) ( )
.
φµ (2-13)
Te solution of Eq. 2-13 would look exactly
like the solution for the difusivity equation
cast in terms of pressure. Dimensionless time is
(in oilfeld units):
t
kt
c r
D
t i w
=
0 000264
2
.
( )
,
φ µ
(2-14)
and dimensionless pressure is
p
kh m p m p
qT
D
i wf
=
− [ ( ) ( )]
.
1424

(2-15)
Equations 2-13 to 2-15 suggest solutions to
natural gas problems (e.g., well testing) that are
exactly analogous to those for an oil well, except
now it is the real gas pseudopressure functions
that needs to be employed. Tis function is
essentially a physical property of natural gas,
dependent on viscosity and the gas deviation
function. Tus, it can be readily calculated for
any pressure and temperature by using standard
physical property correlations.
By analogy with oil, transient rate solution under
radial infnite acting conditions can be written as:
q
kh m p m p
T
i wf
=
− [ ( ) ( )]
1638
t
k
c r
s
t i w
+ − +





log log
( )
. . 3 23 0 87
2
φ µ



−1
, ×
(2-16)
where q is gas fow rate in Mscf/d, p
i
is reservoir
pressure, p
wf
is the fowing bottomhole pressure, φ is
porosity, c
t
is the total compressibility of the system,
and s is the skin efect.
Equation 2-16 can be used to generate transient
IPR (Infow Performance Relationship) curves
for a gas well.

2-3.3 Steady State and Pseudosteady State Flow
Starting with the well known Darcy’s law equation
for oil infow,
q
kh p p
B
r
r
s
e w
e
w
=

+
( )
. [ln( ) ]
,
141 2 µ
(2-17)
and recognizing that the formation volume factor,
Modern Fracturing
22
B, varies greatly with pressure, then an “average”
expression can be used as shown by Economides
et al. (1994):
B
g
. ZT
( p p )/
e wf
=
+
0 0283
2
.
(2-18)
With relatively simple algebra, and introducing the
gas rate in Mscf/d, Eq. 2-17 and 2-18 yield:
p p
q Z T
p p kh
e wf
e wf
− =
+
141 2 1000 5 615 0 0283
2
. ( / . ) ( . )
[( ) / ]
µ
r
r
e
w
[ln( )) ], +s
×
(2-19)
and, fnally:
p p
q ZT
kh
r
r
s
e wf
e
w
2 2
1424
− = +
µ
[ln( ) ], (2-20)
which re-arranged provides the steady-state
approximation for natural gas fow, again showing a
pressure squared diference dependency.
A similar expression can be written for pseudo-
steady state:
q
kh p p
ZT
r
r
s
wf
e
w
=

+
( )
[ln(
.
) ]
.
2
2
1424
0 472
µ
(2-21)
All expressions given thus far in this chapter have
ignored one of the most important efects in natural
gas fow: turbulence.
One of the simplest and most common
ways to account for turbulence efects is
through the use of the turbulence coefcient,
D, which is employed by adding a component
to the pressure drop, as shown below for the
steady-state equation:
) ] p p
ZT
kh
r
r
s q
e wf
e
w
2 2
1424
− = +
µ
[ln(
+
µZTD
kh
q
2
1424
,
(2-22)
which rearranged, provides the well-known:
q
kh p p
ZT
r
r
s Dq
e wf
e
w
=

+ +
( )
[ln( ) ]
.
2 2
1424µ
(2-23)
Similarly, the same coefcient can be employed
to the more rigorous expression using the real-gas
pseudopressure. As an example, for pseudo-steady
state with q in Mscf/d:
q
kh m p m p
T r r s Dq
wf
e w
=

+ +
[ ( ) ( )]
[ln( . / ) ]
.
1424 0 472 (2-24)
2-3.4 Horizontal Well Flow
Analogs to Eq. 2-23 (for steady state) and 2-24 (for
pseudo-steady state) can be written for a horizontal
well. Allowing for turbulence efects, the infow
performance relationships for a horizontal well in a
gas reservoir are for the steady state:
q
k h p p
ZT A
I h
L
I h
r I
Dq
H e wf
a
ani ani
w ani
=

÷
÷
÷
'
!
1
1
+
1
1
( )
ln
( )
2 2
1424
1
µ
''
!
1
1
+
1
1
í
(
·
·
·
·
\
)

,
(2-25)
where
A
a a L
L
a
=
+ −


















ln
( / )
/
,
2 2
2
2
and for pseudo-steady state:
q
k h p p
ZT A
I h
L
I h
r I
Dq
H wf
a
ani ani
w ani
=

÷
÷
− ÷
'
!
1
1
+
( )
ln
( )
2 2
1424
1
3
4
µ
11
1
'
!
1
1
+
1
1
í
(
·
·
·
·
\
)

,
(2-26)
where I
ani
is a measurement of vertical-to-horizontal
permeability anisotropy given by:
I
k
k
ani
H
V
= .

(2-27)
In Eqs. 2-25 and 2-26, a is the large half-axis of the
drainage ellipsoid formed by a horizontal well of
length L. Te expression for this ellipsoid is
a
L r
L
eH
= ÷ ÷
í
(
·
·
·
\
)

l
l
l
l
l
'
!
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
'
!
1
1
1
+
2
0 5 0 25
2
4
0 5
. .
/
.
11
1
1
0 5 .
<0 9 . , for
L
2
r
eH (2-28)
where r
eH
is the equivalent radial fow drainage radius.
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
23
B, varies greatly with pressure, then an “average”
expression can be used as shown by Economides
et al. (1994):
B
g
. ZT
( p p )/
e wf
=
+
0 0283
2
.
(2-18)
With relatively simple algebra, and introducing the
gas rate in Mscf/d, Eq. 2-17 and 2-18 yield:
p p
q Z T
p p kh
e wf
e wf
− =
+
141 2 1000 5 615 0 0283
2
. ( / . ) ( . )
[( ) / ]
µ
r
r
e
w
[ln( )) ], +s
×
(2-19)
and, fnally:
p p
q ZT
kh
r
r
s
e wf
e
w
2 2
1424
− = +
µ
[ln( ) ], (2-20)
which re-arranged provides the steady-state
approximation for natural gas fow, again showing a
pressure squared diference dependency.
A similar expression can be written for pseudo-
steady state:
q
kh p p
ZT
r
r
s
wf
e
w
=

+
( )
[ln(
.
) ]
.
2
2
1424
0 472
µ
(2-21)
All expressions given thus far in this chapter have
ignored one of the most important efects in natural
gas fow: turbulence.
One of the simplest and most common
ways to account for turbulence efects is
through the use of the turbulence coefcient,
D, which is employed by adding a component
to the pressure drop, as shown below for the
steady-state equation:
) ] p p
ZT
kh
r
r
s q
e wf
e
w
2 2
1424
− = +
µ
[ln(
+
µZTD
kh
q
2
1424
,
(2-22)
which rearranged, provides the well-known:
q
kh p p
ZT
r
r
s Dq
e wf
e
w
=

+ +
( )
[ln( ) ]
.
2 2
1424µ
(2-23)
Similarly, the same coefcient can be employed
to the more rigorous expression using the real-gas
pseudopressure. As an example, for pseudo-steady
state with q in Mscf/d:
q
kh m p m p
T r r s Dq
wf
e w
=

+ +
[ ( ) ( )]
[ln( . / ) ]
.
1424 0 472 (2-24)
2-3.4 Horizontal Well Flow
Analogs to Eq. 2-23 (for steady state) and 2-24 (for
pseudo-steady state) can be written for a horizontal
well. Allowing for turbulence efects, the infow
performance relationships for a horizontal well in a
gas reservoir are for the steady state:
q
k h p p
ZT A
I h
L
I h
r I
Dq
H e wf
a
ani ani
w ani
=

÷
÷
÷
'
!
1
1
+
1
1
( )
ln
( )
2 2
1424
1
µ
''
!
1
1
+
1
1
í
(
·
·
·
·
\
)

,
(2-25)
where
A
a a L
L
a
=
+ −


















ln
( / )
/
,
2 2
2
2
and for pseudo-steady state:
q
k h p p
ZT A
I h
L
I h
r I
Dq
H wf
a
ani ani
w ani
=

÷
÷
− ÷
'
!
1
1
+
( )
ln
( )
2 2
1424
1
3
4
µ
11
1
'
!
1
1
+
1
1
í
(
·
·
·
·
\
)

,
(2-26)
where I
ani
is a measurement of vertical-to-horizontal
permeability anisotropy given by:
I
k
k
ani
H
V
= .

(2-27)
In Eqs. 2-25 and 2-26, a is the large half-axis of the
drainage ellipsoid formed by a horizontal well of
length L. Te expression for this ellipsoid is
a
L r
L
eH
= ÷ ÷
í
(
·
·
·
\
)

l
l
l
l
l
'
!
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
'
!
1
1
1
+
2
0 5 0 25
2
4
0 5
. .
/
.
11
1
1
0 5 .
<0 9 . , for
L
2
r
eH (2-28)
where r
eH
is the equivalent radial fow drainage radius.
2-4 Effects of Turbulence
Te efects of turbulence have been studied
by a number of investigators in the petroleum
literature, pioneer and prominent among which
have been Katz and co-workers (Katz et al., 1959;
Firoozabadi and Katz, 1979; Tek et al., 1962). In
their work they suggested that turbulence plays
a considerable role in well performance showing
that the production rate is afected by itself: Te
larger the potential rate, the larger the relative
detrimental efect would be. One interesting means
to account for turbulence was proposed by Swift
and Kiel (1962), who presented Eq. 2-22, which
when rearranged gives Eq. 2-23.
Equation 2-23 is signifcant because it suggests
that turbulence efects can be accounted for by a rate-
dependent skin efect, where the turbulence (at times
referred to as the non-Darcy) coefcient, D, has the
units of reciprocal rate. One of the implications is
that in testing a high-rate gas well, a calculated skin
efect must be construed as “apparent,” rather than the
real damage skin. Among the procedures suggested
for testing test gas wells are multi-rate testing with
subsequent determination of apparent skins at
each rate, and straight-line construction graphing
of s+Dq vs q. Te graph allows feld determination
of s, the skin not afected by turbulence, from
the vertical axis intercept, and D from the slope
(Economides et al., 1994).
2-4.1 The Effects of Turbulence on Radial Flow
Katz et al. (1959) have presented an explicit
relationship for the radial fow of gas into a well, using
natural gas properties and by providing correlations
for the coefcient, β:
) ] p p
ZT
kh
r
r
s q
e wf
e
w
2 2
1424
− = +
µ
[ln(
+
ZT
r r
h
g
w e
12
3 16 10
1 1


βγ . ( ) ( )
22
2
q , (2-29)
where
β =
2 33 10
10
1 201
. ( )
.
.
k
(2-30)
For an isotropic formation, k equals the horizontal
permeability. For an anisotropic formation, k is defned
as the equivalent permeability,
k
k
k
k
k
k
eq
V
H
V
H
H
= − [ log( )]( ) , 1
1
3
(2-31)
where k
V
is the vertical and k
H
the horizontal
permeability.
To demonstrate the efects of turbulence on
natural gas production, a number of calculations are
shown here, using the Katz et al. (1959) approach for a
range of permeabilities. Table 2-1 contains the well and
reservoir data; Table 2-2 presents the results.
Table 2-1. Well and Reservoir Characteristics
p
e
3000 psi Case 1 Case 2
r
e
660 ft p
wf
1500 psi 2500 psi
r
w
0.359 ft μ 0.0162 cp 0.0186
h 50 ft Z 0.91 0.9
T 710˚R
γ
g
0.7
Table 2-2 Turbulence Effect at Different Permeabilities
and Different Drawdowns
k,
md
Case 1: ∆p = 1500 psi
q (β=0, s=0)
MMscf/d
q (β>0, s=0)
MMscf/d
q (β>0, s<0)
MMscf/d
s
1 3.0 2.9 8.1 -5.7
5 15.1 13.0 24.6 -5.1
25 75.3 51.9 71.7 -4.3
100 301.2 151.2 179.1 -3.7
k,
md
Case 2: ∆p = 500 psi
q (β=0, s=0)
MMscf/d
q (β>0, s=0)
MMscf/d
q (β>0, s<0)
MMscf/d
s
1 1.1 1.1 3.7 -5.7
5 5.4 5.1 12.2 -5.1
25 27.0 23.0 37.9 -4.3
100 108.1 75.5 100.1 -3.7
Te frst two columns of Table 2-2 show
the expected production rates for two fowing
bottomhole pressures, for laminar and turbulent
conditions, and for permeabilities from 1 to 100 md.
At low permeability, as expected, the rate reduction is
negligible; however, at 100 md and p
wf
= 1500 psi the
reduction is almost 50%.
Modern Fracturing
24
Turbulence efects, viewed as an apparent skin, result
in values of 0.3, 1.2, 3.4 and 7.5, for the 1-, 5-, 25- and
100-md cases, respectively (and p
wf
= 1500 psi).
Because the range of 5 to 25 md is perhaps the
most likely to be encountered in emerging natural gas
felds, the ratio of actual to ideal (without considering
turbulence) rates is perhaps the most telling. For the two
diferent drawdowns, these ratios are 0.86 and 0.94 (for
the 5-md case) and 0.68 and 0.85 (for the 25-md case).
Tese results, plotted on Fig. 2-2, show the efect of both
the permeability value and the drawdown. Te ratio
between turbulence-afected production and production
calculated under the assumption of laminar fow declines
precipitously as reservoir permeability and drawdown
(and, hence, production rate) increase.
1 10 100
q
a
c
t
u
a
l
/

q
id
e
a
l
Permeability, md
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
%p = 500 psi
%p = 1500 psi
Figure 2-2 Turbulence effects for a permeability range
and different drawdowns
An additional interesting issue is the question
of the negative skin efect. Tis will become even
more pronounced in a later section of this chapter
presenting the expected production rate from
hydraulic fracturing. For now, a hypothetical negative
skin efect is used to represent, for example, matrix
acidizing of carbonate rock. In Table 2-2, the listed
negative skin efects result from fracturing. What
will become apparent is that hydraulic fracturing in
natural gas wells has a much larger efect than merely
imposing a negative skin because of the extraordinary
reduction in turbulence efects.
When turbulence efects are insignifcant, the
negative skin efect is very large. In the 1-md case with
1500-psi fowing bottomhole pressure, the production
ratio between the negative skin (-5.7) and the zero skin
is nearly 3. Conversely, when the turbulence efects are
great, as in the 100-md case, the production ratio between
the negative skin (-3.7) and the zero skin is far less (1.2),
but again, these production ratios do not paint the true
efect of fracturing, which will be addressed later.
2-4.2 Perforated and Cased Well
in a High-Rate Gas Reservoir
Te previous section deals with the fow reduction in
an open-hole well and could also be considered as a
reasonable approximation for a slotted liner.
For a cemented and perforated well, in the absence of
turbulence, a confguration skin efect can be envisioned
and added to the denominator of the deliverability
relations. Karakas and Tariq (1988) have published a
method to calculate this skin efect which depends on
the length of the perforation tunnel, the perforation
diameter, the phasing (degrees among adjoining planes of
perforations) and, especially, the perforation density, i.e.,
how many perforations per unit net thickness, measured
in shots per foot (SPF). Tey also quantifed the efect
of vertical-to-horizontal permeability anisotropy: Te
lower the vertical permeability, the larger the value of
the skin efect would be. Finally, they showed that if the
perforation tunnel lengths end outside a damage zone,
rather than inside, the composite damage/perforation
skin efect is substantially reduced.
Using the Karakas and Tariq (1988) model, one
important conclusion is that in a permeability-isotropic
formation without near-well damage, 4 SPF of typical
tunnel length and diameter result in a perforation skin
efect equal to zero; i.e., this confguration may be
construed as open-hole equivalent.
Ichara

(1987) used a similar approach, constructing
a numerical model for a perforated natural gas well
and accounting for turbulence efects. He showed that
perforations add a production impediment because of the
increase in turbulence. Fig. 2-3 presents some of Ichara’s
results, which show the efect of permeability anisotropy
and perforation tunnel length. One observation is that
long perforations are useful, making a well with reasonable
perforation density (4 SPF) near the performance of an
open-hole well (still afected by turbulence). From Fig.
2-3 it can be concluded that a gas well with 4 SPF and
a typical 8-in. tunnel length in a sandstone reservoir
(k
v
/k
h
= 0.1) will perform at about 85% of an open-hole
well. Fig. 2-3 is for 0˚ perforation phasing.
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
25
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.1
1.2
0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21
Perforation Length, in
P
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
v
i
t
y

R
a
t
i
o
4 SPF
Δ p = 1500 psi
0º Phasing Angle
k
v
/ k
h
1.0
0.1
0.01
Open Hole
Figure 2-3 Productivity ratio vs. perforation length for
k
V
/k
H
= 0.01, 0.1, and 1.0 (after Ichara, 1987)
Figure 2-4 (for an isotropic formation) suggests
that improving the perforation phasing to 90˚ and,
especially, increasing the perforation density to 8 or
12 SPF may render the cased and perforated well
an even better performer than an open hole. Tis
is because of the penetration of the fow channels
beyond the sand face. In short, high perforation
density of long-penetrating tunnels will reduce
turbulence efects. For example, from Fig. 2-4,
for 8 SPF of 18 in. perforation tunnels, the well
performance would be about 10% larger than that
of an open-hole well.
(Note: Ichara’s work assumes that all perforations
are open and undamaged. Tis is of course rarely true
and the results presented here should be considered
an upper limit. Turbulence efects would be enhanced
with damaged or partly open perforations.)
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.1
1.2
0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21
Perforation Length, in
P
r
o
d
u
c
t
i
v
i
t
y

R
a
t
i
o
Open Hole
90º
Phasing Angle

SPF
12
12
8
8
4
4

Figure 2-4 Effect of shot density and phasing angle on
productivity ratio for k
V
/k
H
= 1
2-5 Production from Hydraulically
Fractured Gas Wells
Hydraulic fracturing has been established as the
premier production enhancement procedure in the
petroleum industry. For the frst 40 years since its
inception, hydraulic fracturing has been for primarily
low-permeability reservoirs; in the last two decades
it has expanded into medium- to high-permeability
formations through the tip screenout (TSO) process
(see section 4-7.3.2). For natural gas wells, a reservoir
above 0.5 md should be considered a medium-
permeability reservoir. Above 5 md it should be
considered a high-permeability formation. In all
high-permeability cases, the fracture should be a TSO
treatment (Economides et al., 2002a). Even in many
medium-permeability formations with relatively small
elastic moduli, TSO is the indicated method.
Valkó and Economides and co-workers as in Romero
et al. (2002) introduced a physical optimization technique
to maximize the productivity index of a hydraulically
fractured well. Tey call it the Unifed Fracture Design
(UFD, Economides et al., 2002a) approach. Tey
introduced the concept of the dimensionless Proppant
Number, N
prop
, given by:
N I C
k x w
kx
k x wh
kx h
prop x fD
f f
e
f f p
e p
= = =
2
2 2
4 4
=
k V
kV
f p
r
2
,
(2-32)
where I
x
is the penetration ratio, C
fD
is the
dimensionless fracture conductivity, V
r
is the reservoir
drainage volume, V
p
is the volume of the proppant in
the pay (the total volume injected times the ratio of the
net height to the fracture height), k
f
is the proppant
pack permeability, k is the reservoir permeability,
x
e
is the well drainage dimension, h
f
is the fracture
height and h is the reservoir thickness. Te proppant
permeability for gas wells will have to be adjusted
because of turbulence efects. Tis adjustment will be
shown in a later section.
Valkó and Economides also found that for a
given value of N
prop
there is an optimal dimensionless
fracture conductivity at which the productivity index
is maximized.
Modern Fracturing
26
(2-33)
2-5.1 Unique Needs of Fracture
Geometry and Conductivity
At “low” Proppant Numbers, the optimal conductivity,
C
fD
= 1.6. Te absolute maximum dimensionless
productivity index (see Section 4-5.1), J
D
, is 6/π = 1.909
(the productivity index for a perfect linear fow in a
square reservoir). When the propped volume increases
or the reservoir permeability decreases, the optimum
dimensionless fracture conductivity increases somewhat.
Valkó and Economides (1996) also presented
correlations for the maximum achievable dimensionless
productivity index as a function of the Proppant
Number (see Eq. 2-33 at the bottom of the page).
Similarly, correlations were presented for
the optimal dimensionless fracture conductivity
for the entire range of Proppant Numbers (see
Eq. 2-34, at bottom).
After the optimal dimensionless fracture conductivity
is known, the optimal fracture length and width can be
readily determined from:
x
k V
C kh
w
C kV
k h
fopt
f f
fD opt
.
opt
fD opt f
f
=













=

,
,
0 5
and












0.5
.
(2-35)
where V
f
is the volume of one propped wing,
V
f
= V
p
/2.
Te idea of using the maximized dimensionless
productivity index to 1) design a hydraulic fracture
treatment and 2) to evaluate the subsequent well
performance against a benchmark and indeed any
other well confguration allows a generalized approach
to production engineering. It becomes important to
rationalize sub-standard performance and a constant
efort to “push the limits” (Economides et al., 2001.)
2-5.2 Turbulence Remediation
in High- and Low-Permeability Wells
In the case of a potentially high-rate natural gas well, the
efective proppant pack permeability used to calculate
the Proppant Number and the dimensionless fracture
conductivity depends on the production rate because of
the non-Darcy fow efects.
Economides et al. (2002b) presented an iterative
procedure combining the UFD method with the Gidley
(1990) adjustment to proppant pack permeability and
the Cooke (1973) correlations for fow in fractures.
Te procedure starts with correcting the efective
permeability using the in-situ Reynolds number by:
k
k
N
f e
f n
,
,
Re
, =
+ 1
(2-36)
where k
f,n
is the nominal fracture permeability.
First a Reynolds number is assumed. A good frst
value is Reynolds number equal to zero. Ten from
Eq. 2-32 and the adjusted proppant pack permeability
the Proppant Number is calculated from which the
maximum J
D
(Eq. 2-33) and optimum dimensionless
conductivity (Eq. 2-34) are calculated. Te latter
allows the determination of the indicated fracture
dimensions using Eq. 2-35.
From the dimensionless productivity index and
drawdown, the actual production rate is calculated,
which in turn is used to obtain the Reynolds number.
Te procedure ends when the assumed and calculated
Reynolds numbers are close enough.
Te Reynolds number for non-Darcy fow
is given by
N
k
f n
Re
,
, =
β νρ
µ
(2-37)
J N
N
D prop
prop
max
. . ln
( )
=


1
0 990 0 5

N
p


6
0 423 0 311
exp
. .
π
rrop prop
prop prop
N
N N

÷ ÷

l
l
l
l
l
0 089
0 667 0 015
2
2
. ( )
. . ( ) 1

'
!
1
1
1
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
1
1
1
if
if
N
prop
≤0 1 .
N
prop
0 1 .
(2-34) C N
fD opt prop ,
( )
=
1.6

N
prop
÷
− ÷
÷
1 6
0 583 1 48
1 0
. exp
. . ln
.1142ln N
prop

l
l
l
l
l


N
prop
N
if N
prop
<0 1 .
10 N
prop
≤ ≤ if 0.1
if
prop
10

'
!
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
27
where k
f,n
is the nominal permeability (under Darcy
fow conditions) in m
2
, β is in 1/m, v is the fuid
velocity at reservoir conditions in m/s, μ is the
viscosity of the fuid at reservoir conditions in Pa.s
and ρ is the density of the fowing fuid in kg/m
3
. Te
value of β is obtained from:
β = × (
( )
,
)
,
1 10
8
b
k
f n
a
(2-38)
where a and b are obtained from Cooke (1973). Some
values are given in Table 2-3.
Table 2-3 Constants a and b
Prop Size a b
8 to 12 1.24 17,423
10 to 20 1.34 27,539
20 to 40 1.54 110,470
40 to 60 1.60 69,405

Te velocity, v, is determined as the volumetric fow
rate in the fracture near the well divided by the fracture
height times the fracture width (both determined from
the design in each iteration.) For a detailed approach
and example see Economides et al. (2002b).
Table 2-4 presents the results for the fracture
designs and expected production rates for the four
permeabilities used earlier for the non-fractured wells
presented in Table 2-2. Tese designs assumed sand as
a proppant with k
f
= 60,000 md.
Tere are some very important implications
in comparing the results in Tables 2-2 and 2-4.
At 5 md the non-fractured well would deliver 13
MMscf/d (with p
wf
= 1500 psi). If the fracture-
induced skin of -5.1 is assumed the production
rate would be 24.6 MMscf/d, approximately a two-
fold increase (see Table 2-2) Tis production ratio
increase would be expected in an oil well fowing
under laminar conditions. However, the implicit
reduction in turbulence efects (because of the fow
profle modifcation in going from converging radial
fow to fracture fow) leads to a considerable further
increase in the production to (in this example)
43.5 MMscf/d, a more than three-fold increase
(see Table 2-4). For higher-permeability wells, the
resulting folds of increase are similar, albeit in
actual production rates the achievable results are
spectacular (see Fig. 2-5).
Table 2-4 Results from Hydraulically Fractured Well
( k
f
= 60,000 md)
k, md s
Case 1: p
wf
= 1500 psi
q, MMscf/d k
f,e
, md x
f
, ft
1 -5.7 13.1 9251 218
5 -5.1 43.5 7950 91
25 -4.3 160.3 6670 36
100 -3.7 524.0 5525 16
k, md s
Case 2: p
wf
= 2500 psi
q, MMscf/d k
f,e
, md x
f
, ft
1 -5.7 5.8 12493 250
5 -5.1 18.9 10770 108
25 -4.3 69.2 8980 44
100 -3.7 224.0 7494 20
Table 2-5 shows even more prolifc fractured wells if
premium proppants are used (k
f
= 600,000 md),
“pushing the limits of hydraulic fracturing” (Demar-
chos et al., 2004).
Table 2-5 Results from Hydraulically Fractured Well
( k
f
= 600,000 md)
k, md s
Case 1: p
wf
= 1500 psi
q, MMscf/d k
f,e
, md x
f
, ft
1 -6.1 19.9 38300 375
5 -5.9 59.2 32050 182
25 -5.4 202.0 27110 75
100 -4.8 637.0 22410 35
k, md s
Case 2: p
wf
= 2500 psi
q, MMscf/d k
f,e
, md x
f
, ft
1 -6.1 8.8 51600 456
5 -5.9 26.3 44150 211
25 -5.4 88.4 37020 91
100 -4.8 270.0 31720 41
In summary, turbulence afects are the dominant
features in the production of high-permeability (>5
md) gas wells. Turbulence may account for a 25 to 50%
reduction in the expected open-hole production rate
from such wells, if laminar fow is assumed. Cased and
perforated wells may experience further turbulence-
induced rate declines, which can be alleviated somewhat
with long-penetrating perforation tunnels and large
Modern Fracturing
28
perforation densities (e.g., 8 to 12 SPF). However,
nothing can compete with hydraulic fracturing. In
higher-permeability gas wells, the incremental benefts
greatly exceed those of comparable permeability oil wells,
exactly because of the dramatic impact on reducing the
turbulence efects beyond the mere imposition of a
negative skin. It is fair to say that any gas well above
5 md will be greatly handicapped if not hydraulically
fractured. Indeed, pushing the limits of hydraulic
fracturing by using large quantities of premium
proppants will lead to extraordinary production rate
increases (Wang and Economides, 2004).
1.0
10.0
100.0
1000.0
1 10 100
Permeability, md
q
,

M
M
s
c
f
/
d
Fractured Well
(Premium)
Fractured
Well
Negative
Skin
Radial
Flow
Figure 2-5 Comparison of gas production rates from non-
fractured wells, wells with negative skin and fractured wells
2-5.3 Multi-fractured Horizontal Gas Wells
As discussed in the previous section, in vertical gas wells
turbulence can be greatly reduced through hydraulic
fracturing because the fow pattern (shown in Fig. 2-
6) through the hydraulic fracture towards the well is
diferent than for radial fow

(Wang and Economides,
2004). Te same is not necessarily true for transversely
fractured horizontal gas wells (see Section 10-2).
Because turbulence efects are enhanced in the latter
(due to the very small contact area between the well
and the fracture), the conclusion is more nuanced. Te
limited communication between the transverse fracture
and the wellbore generates an additional pressure drop
and a choking efect for all transversely fractured
horizontal gas wells. Tis also increases turbulence,
which precludes application to essentially any well
whose permeability is 1 md or more and, perhaps, to
even much lower values of permeability, depending on
project economics (Wei, 2004).
Depending on the well orientation with respect to
the state of stress, either a longitudinal or a transverse
fracture may be created in a horizontal well (Soliman
and Boonen, 1997; Mukherjee and Economides, 1991;
Soliman et al., 1999). Te longitudinal confguration
is generated when the well is drilled along the expected
fracture trajectory. Te performance of such well is
almost identical to a fractured vertical well when both
have equal fracture length and conductivity. Terefore,
existing solutions for vertical well fractures can be applied
to a longitudinally fractured horizontal well

(Economides
et al., 2002a; Soliman et al., 1999; Villegas et al., 1996;
and Valkó and Economides, 1996).
Radial fow
Hydraulically fractured vertical well
Figure 2-6 Confgurations of radial fow and fractured
vertical well
Almost all reported applications of fractured
horizontal wells are for transverse fractures

(Crisby et al.,
1998; Emannuele et al., 1998; Eirafe and Wattenbarger,
1997; Minner et al., 2003; and Fisher et al., 2004). A
transverse hydraulic fracture is created when the well
is drilled normal to the expected fracture trajectory
(Valkó and Economides, 1996; Soliman et al., 1999;
and Economides et al., 1994). Te confguration of a
transversely fractured horizontal well is demonstrated
in Fig. 2-7. Te cross section of the contact between a
transverse fracture and a horizontal well is 2π r
w
w where
w is the width of the fracture (which can be obtained by
using a design procedure such as the Unifed Fracture
Design approach) and r
w
is the radius of the horizontal
well. In this case, the fow from the reservoir into the
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
29
fracture is linear; the fow inside the fracture is converging
radial (Economides et al, 1994). Tis combination of
fows results in an additional pressure drop that can
be accounted for by a choke skin efect, denoted as s
c

(Mukherjee and Economides, 1991). Te horizontal
well is assumed to be in the vertical center of a reservoir
(see Fig. 2-7) and the fow is from the reservoir into the
fracture and then from the fracture into the wellbore
(Mukherjee and Economides, 1991). Te produced fuid
enters the wellbore only through the fracture, regardless
of whether the remaining part of the well is perforated.
In this study, this assumption is also valid.
Side view, fuid fow from reservoir to the fracture
Top view, fuid fow from the fracture to the wellbore
Figure 2-7 One transverse fracture intersecting a
horizontal well
In the following section, the theory and calculation
method for transversely fractured horizontal
gas well are described. Ten some results and
discussions are presented.
Calculation Method and Theory
for Transversely Fractured Gas Well
To study the performance of a transversely fractured
horizontal gas well, it is essential to account for
turbulence efects, which are likely to be large
because of high gas-fow velocity. Economides et
al. (2002b)

have developed an iterative procedure
to account for turbulence efects in a hydraulic
fracture. Te main steps and the correlations used
are described below.
1. Assume a Reynolds number, N
Re
, and
calculate the efective fracture permeability k
f,e

using Eq. 2-36.
2. Using k
f,e
, calculate the Proppant Number, Nprop
, from Eq. 2-32.
3. With N
prop
, calculate the maximum productivity
index, J
Dmax
, and optimal dimensionless fracture
conductivity, C
fDopt
, from Eq. 2-33 and 2-34,
respectively.
4. With C
fDopt
, calculate the indicated optimum
fracture dimension x
fopt
and w
opt
from Eq. 2-35.
5. With the known k
f,e
and w
opt
, calculate the choke
skin factor by:
s
kh
k w
h
r
c
f w
=
í
(
·
·
·
·
\
)

l
l
l
l
l
ln .
2 2
π
(2-39)
6. With the calculated J
D,max
and s
c
, calculate the
dimensionless productivity index of transversely
fractured horizontal oil well J
DTH
(neglecting
turbulence efects for now), J
DTH
:
J
J
s
DTH
DV
c
=












+
1
1
(2-40)
where J
DV
is the dimensionless productivity
index of the fractured vertical well calculated
using the procedure described by Wang and
Economides (2004).
7. With J
DTH
and drawdown, the actual production
rate can be obtained using Eq. 2-41. With this
production rate, a new Reynolds number N
Re
can be calculated with Eqs. 2-37 and 2-38, and
the fow velocity v obtained from the cross-
sectional area of fow.

q
kh p p
ZT
J
wf
DTH
=
− ( )
.
2 2
1424µ
(2-41)
Modern Fracturing
30
8. Compare N
Re
calculated in Step 7 with the
assumed N
Re
in Step 1. If they are close enough,
the procedure can be ended. If they are not, repeat
from Step 1 until they are close enough.
Te calculated results are optimum, which means
that at a given Proppant Number the dimensionless
productivity index is the maximum at the optimum
dimensionless fracture conductivity (Demarchos et
al., 2004). However, this optimization often must
be tempered by physical and logistical constraints
(Economides et al., 2002a)
To compare the performance of fractured vertical
and transversely fractured horizontal gas well, the
Equivalent Number of Vertical Wells, X, is defned as:
X
J
J
DTH
DV
= .

(2-42)
Assume the formation permeability is the same
throughout and n transverse fractures are generated
intersecting a horizontal well (Fig. 2-8). J
DTHt
is the total
dimensionless productivity index (sum) for n transverse
fractures. J
DTH1
is the dimensionless productivity
index of one isolated zone for a transversely fractured
horizontal well. Terefore:
J nJ
DTHt DTH
=
1
.
(2-43)
Figure 2-8 Multiple transverse fractures intersecting a
horizontal well
Results and Analysis
for Formation Permeability from 1 to 100 md
A case study is presented here for the multiple fracturing
of a horizontal well in a gas reservoir with h = 50 ft,
γ
g
= 0.7, reservoir pressure of 3000 psi and fowing
bottomhole pressure of 1500 psi.
Assume a single transverse fracture is generated in
the horizontal well and the mass of proppant is 150,000
lbm. Proppant-pack permeability, k
f
, is 600,000 md.
Te details of the fracture design are omitted here.
What are presented are fractured well performance
results, summarized in Table 2-6.
It should be noted that the skin choke efect,
s
c
, (from Eq. 2-39) is inversely proportional to the
proppant-pack permeability. Tus, choosing high-quality
proppant would decrease s
c
and beneft the dimensionless
productivity index, J
DTH
(Eq. 2-40), and the Equivalent
Number of Vertical wells, X (Eq. 2-42).
Table 2-6 Results for k
f
= 600,000 md
k
f
= 600,000 md, 150,000 lbm mass,
single transverse fracture
k, md J
DV
J
DTH
w, in. s
c
k
f,e

1 0.739 0.121 0.35 4.64 1002
5 0.457 0.056 0.69 13.3 871
10 0.389 0.036 0.86 22.3 832
25 0.324 0.018 1.04 48.7 794
50 0.288 0.013 1.48 69.1 783
100 0.255 0.009 2.07 100 774
Te results in Table 2-6 show the value of J
DTH
is
very small (compared to that of the vertical well, J
DV

)
and decreases dramatically with increasing formation
permeability. It is obvious that turbulence efects
infuence the performance of a transversely fractured gas
well so much that even with the most premium proppant
(permeability 600,000 md), the results are unacceptable.
Te comparison of production between a fractured
vertical well, a transversely fractured horizontal well and
laminar fow open-hole well (the ideal case in Wang and
Economides, 2004) is summarized in Fig. 2-9. Te top
solid curve (q
v
/q
ideal

) represents the ratio of the fractured
vertical well production to that from a laminar-fow,
open-hole vertical well. Te solid bottom curve shows
the ratio of a transversely fractured horizontal well (one
fracture) with the same laminar-fow, open-hole vertical
well (q
TH
/q
ideal

). Results clearly show that because the
fracture in the vertical well changes the fow pattern in
the near-wellbore area and alleviates the non-Darcy efect
the q
v
/q
ideal
is considerably larger than 1. Conversely,
the q
TH
/q
ideal
is much smaller than 1 even at reservoir
permeability equal to 1 because of the choke skin and
non-Darcy efects. Te dashed line in Fig. 2-9 shows that
even with four transverse fractures, the productivity ratio
of a fractured horizontal well to an ideal open-hole is still
less than 1 for permeability larger than 10 md.
Chapter 2 Natural Gas Production
31
Would increasing the mass of proppant improve
the performance? Te answer is no. Te reason is
that the main factor that makes J
DTH
so low is the
converging skin efect, s
c
, which cannot be reduced
by increasing the mass of proppant (see Eq. 2-39).
For example, for the 1-md formation, doubling the
mass of proppant to 300,000 lbm (with all other
variables kept the same) increases the J
DTH
only to
0.122, almost the same as that for the 150,000-lbm
mass case, where J
DTH
is 0.121.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
1 10 100
k, md
q
v
/ q
ideal
4q
TH
/ q
ideal
q
TH
/ q
ideal
Open Hole
q

/

q

id
e
a
l
Figure 2-9 Turbulence effect on fractured vertical and
transversely fractured horizontal wells
Te conclusion from this part of the study is that
hydraulic fracturing is essential for both stimulating
and reducing the strong turbulence efects in higher-
permeability vertical gas wells, but the same is not
necessarily true for transversely fractured horizontal gas
wells. Transversely fractured horizontal gas wells are not
attractive in terms of productivities for moderate and
higher formation permeability (e.g. k > 1 md).

ResultsandAnalysis
forFormationPermeabilityfrom0.01to10md
A second study presents results for a much lower
permeability range (0.01 to 10 md). Designs assume the
use of 150,000 lbm mass of proppant with proppant-
pack permeabilities of 60,000 md and 600,000 md.
Drainage radius is 660 ft.
A single transversely fractured horizontal gas well is
calculated. Te results are plotted in Figs. 2-10 (a) and
2-10 (b). Te obvious trends from these results are:
• Te J
DTH
is smaller than J
DV
when other parameters
are the same.
• Te J
DTH
decreases with increasing formation
permeability regardless of proppant-pack permeability,
as expected.
• When reservoir permeability is less than 0.1 md,
proppant-pack permeability has slight impact on s
c
.
• When reservoir permeability increases, s
c
increases
and X decreases.
Tese results further suggest that for high- and
even moderate-permeability reservoirs, a transversely
fractured horizontal gas well is not attractive because of
the production impediment from turbulence efects and
converging skin efect. For low-permeability (k ≤ 0.5 md)
reservoirs, the results should be attractive if multiple
fractures intersecting a horizontal well are generated (and
if the project economics are attractive.)
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2.0
0.01 0.1 1 10
k, md
J
D
V
a
n
d
J
D
T
H
J
DV
(k
f
=600,000 md)
J
DTH
(k
f
=60,000 md)
J
DTH
(k
f
=600,000 md)
J
DV
(k
f
=60,000 md)
Figure 2-10 (a) J
DV
, J
DTH
, vs. k for different proppants
0.01 0.1 1 10
k, md
X
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
S
c
X (k
f
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0
s
c
(k
f
=60,000 md)
=60,000 md)
f c
(k =600,000 md) s
X (k
f
=600,000 md)
Figure 2-10 (b) s
c
, X vs. k for different proppants
Because J
DV
and s
c
are functions of the mass
of proppant and proppant-pack permeability, it is
worth performing a parametric study to show the
efect of important reservoir and treatment variables
on J
DTH
,

J
DV
and X.
Modern Fracturing
32
mpact of Fracture Treatment Size
To fnd the impact of the mass of proppant on J
DTH
,

a range
of proppant mass from 75,000 to 300,000 lbm is used.
Te proppant-pack permeability used in this study is sand,
with permeability 60,000 md, and the drainage radius is
660 ft. Te results are summarized in Table 2-7.
Table 2-7 Impact of Mass of Proppant on X and J
DTH
75,000 lbm
k, md J
DTH
X s
c
0.01 0.786 0.531 0.16
0.05 0.465 0.481 0.45
0.1 0.31 0.35 0.86
0.5
0.105
0.198 5.63
1 0.067 0.152 10.5
5 0.029 0.092 28.6
10 0.017 0.06 51.3
150,000 lbm
k, md J
DTH
X s
c
0.01 1.075 0.589 0.08
0.05 0.345 0.487 0.43
0.1 0.323 0.294 0.91
0.5 0.106 0.162 5.66
1 0.067 0.127 10.6
5 0.029 0.08 28.7
10 0.018 0.058 51.3
300,000 lbm
k, md J
DTH
X s
c
0.01 1.42 0.755 0.19
0.05 0.314 0.518 0.46
0.1 0.332 0.235 0.95
0.5 0.107 0.138 5.69
1 0.068 0.116 10.6
5 0.029 0.071 28.9
10 0.018 0.053 51.3
It is apparent that increasing the mass of proppant
has impact on the results for the low-permeability
(k ≤ 0.1 md) formation but virtually no impact in higher
permeabilities. Te reason is that increasing the mass
of proppant, while it may increase the dimensionless
productivity index, also increases the skin factor s
c
(see
Table 2-7). Te one efect nullifes the other. Tus,
there is no need to increase the mass of proppant. A
modest treatment is sufcient.
mpact of the Number of solated Zones
on Equivalent Number of Vertical Wells, X
As mentioned earlier, for low-permeability (k ≤ 0.5
md) reservoirs, fracture stimulation results will not be
attractive unless multiple transverse fractures intersecting
a horizontal well are generated. Tus, it is useful to study
how the number of isolated zones afects the Equivalent
Number of Vertical Wells.
Assume the total drainage radius is 1320 ft, the
proppant-pack permeability k
f
is 60,000 md and mass
of proppant is 150,000 lbm. Te number of isolated
zones and, thus, the number of transverse fractures
intersecting a horizontal well vary from 1 to 4.
Te results, plotted in Fig. 2-11, show that
when the number of transverse fractures is more
than four for low permeability (k < 0.5 md), X
becomes more than 1, which makes transversely
fractured horizontal gas wells attractive. Te lower
the formation permeability is, the more attractive
the transverse fracture confguration is (subject to
overall economic considerations). If the formation
permeability is larger than 1 md, the transverse
confguration does not appear attractive. For
example, X is only 0.280 for k = 10 md formation
with four transverse fractures generated.
X
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
1 2 3 4 5
n
k=0.01 md
k=0.05 md
k=0.1 md
k=0.5 md
k=1 md
k=5 md
k=10 md
Figure 2-11 Impact of number of fractures, n, on X
In summary, turbulence efects have a great
impact on transversely fractured horizontal gas wells
due to the small cross-section of the contact between
the well and the fracture. Although a vertical fractured
gas well in the permeability range of 1 to 100 md
may perform very well, turbulence efect procduce
in unacceptable results in transversely fractured
horizontal gas wells in the same permeability range.
For low permeability (k < 0.5 md), the results are
attractive if a fracture stimulation treatment generates
multiple fractures intersecting a horizontal well.
However, if the permeability is larger than 0.5 md,