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DeclineCurve Analysis for Gas Wells
9.1 Introduction
This chapter discusses declinecurve methods for estimating ulti
mate gas recoveries and predicting performance from the analysis
of longterm gasproduction data either from individual wells or
from entire fields. We begin with conventional analysis techniques
first presented by Arps. I These conventional techniques include
equations for exponential, harmonic, and hyperbolic decline. Next,
we introduce production decline type curves and illustrate their ap
plication to the analysis of gasproduction data and the estimation
of formation properties. We also show how decline type curves can
help predict well or field performance. All analysis techniques are
illustrated with examples.
9.2 Introduction to DeclineCurve Analysis
The basis of declinecurve analysis is to match past production per
formance histories or trends (i.e., actual production rate/time data)
with a "model." Assuming that future production continues to fol
low the past trend, we can use these models to estimate original
gas in place and to predict ultimate gas reserves at some future reser
voir abandonment pressure or economic production rate. Or, we
can determine the remaining productive life of a well or the entire
field. In addition, we can estimate the individual well flowing char
acteristics, such as formation permeability and skin factor, with
declinetypecurve analysis techniques. Declinecurve methods,
however, are applicable to individual wells or an entire field.
Declinecurve analysis techniques offer an alternative to volu
metric and materialbalance methods (Chap. 10) and history match
ing with reservoir simulation (Chap. 13) for estimating original gas
in place and gas reserves. Application of declinecurve analysis tech
niques to gas reservoirs is most appropriate when more conven
tional volumetric or materialbalance methods are not accurate or
when sufficient data are not available to justify complex reservoir
simulation. For example, materialbalance methods require esti
mates of stabilized shutin bottomhole pressures (BHP's); however,
in lowpermeability reservoirs where long times are needed for
stabilization, accurate shutin BHP's often are not available.
Unlike volumetric methods that can be used early in the produc
tive life of a reservoir, declinecurve analysis cannot be applied
until some development has occurred and a production trend is es
tablished. An advantage of declinecurve analysis and material
balance calculations is that these methods estimate only the gas
volumes that are in pressure communication with and may ultimately
be recovered by the producing wells. Volumetric estimates of gas
in place and reserves, however, are based on the total gas volume
in place, part of which may be unrecoverable with the existing wells
because of unidentified reservoir discontinuities or heterogeneities.
Again, we emphasize that the basis of declinecurve analysis for
estimating gas in place and reserves at some future abandonment
condition is the assumption that future production performance can
be modeled with past history. Any changes in field development
strategies or production operation practices could change the fu
ture performance of a well and significantly affect reserve estimates
from declinecurve techniques. For example, infield development
wells could reduce the current drainage area and subsequent ulti
mate gas reserves of existing wells, or proration schedules set by
gas regulatory agencies may require some wells to be shut in peri
odically.
9.3 Conventional Analysis Techniques
Early attempts at declinecurve analysis sought to find plotting tech
niques or functions that would linearize the production history. Be
cause linear functions are simple to manipulate mathematically or
graphically, the future performance could then be estimated if we
assumed that the production trend remained linear for the remain
ing life of the well or reservoir. The most common conventional
declinecurve analysis technique is a linear semilog decline curve,
sometimes called exponential or constantpercentage decline. Sub
sequent work, 1 however, showed that the production performance
of all wells cannot be modeled with exponential decline. Arps I rec
ognized that the decline characteristics also could be harmonic or
hyperbolic.
Most conventional declinecurve analysis
2
,3 is based on Arps'
empirical rate/time decline equation,
qj
q(t) = , .............................. (9.1)
(I +bD;t) lib
where D
j
= dq(t)/dt/q(t) = initial decline rate, days ). Note that
the units of gas flow rate, time, and initial decline rate in Eq. 9.1
must be consistent.
Depending on the value of the decline exponent, b, Eq. 9.1 has
three different forms. These three forms of declineexponential,
harmonic, and hyperbolichave a different shape on Cartesian and
semilog graphs of gas production rate vs. time and gas production
rate vs. cumulative gas production. Consequently, these curve
shapes can help identify the type of decline for a well and, if the
DECLlNE·CURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
Rate, q
Fig. 9.1Decllnecurve shapes for a Cartesian plot of rate vs.
time.
trend is linear, extrapolate the trend graphically or mathematically
to some future point.
Eq. 9.1 is based on four important and widely violated as·
sumptions.
1. The equation assumes that the well analyzed is produced at
constant BHP. If the BHP changes, the character of the well's
decline changes.
2. It assumes that the well analyzed is producing from an un
changing drainage area (i.e., fixed size) with noflow boundaries.
If the size of the drainage area changes (e.g., from relative changes
in reservoir rates), the character of the well's decline changes. If,
for example, water is entering the well's drainage area, the char
acter of the well's decline may change suddenly, abruptly, and nega
tively.
3. The equation assumes that the well analyzed has constant per
meability and skin factor. If permeability decreases as pore pres
sure decreases, or if skin factor changes because of changing damage
or deliberate stimulation, the character of the well's decline changes.
4. It must be applied only to boundarydominated (stabilized) flow
data if we want to predict future performance of even limited du
ration. If the data "fit" with a decline curve are transient, there
is simply no basis for predicting longterm performance. Until all
the boundaries of the drainage area (or reservoir) have influenced
the well's decline characteristics, predictions of the longterm
decline rate are not unique and, except by sheer accident, are in
correct.
Fig. 9.3Declinecurve shapes for a Cartesian plot of rate vs.
cumulative production.
Log
Rate,q
Harmonic
215
Tune, I
Fig. 9.2Declinecurve shapes for a semllog plot of rate vs.
time.
Figs. 9.1 through 9.4 show typical responses for exponential,
hyperbolic, and harmonic declines. Because of their characteristic
shapes, these plots can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine
the type of decline before any calculations are made. We elaborate
on the different curve shapes in the following sections. In addi
tion, we illustrate the analysis of gaswell production data using
conventional techniques.
9.3.1 Exponential Decline. Exponential decline, sometimes called
constantpercentage decline, is characterized by a decrease in pro
duction rate per unit of time that is proportional to the production
rate. The exponential decline equation can be derived from Eq. 9.1.
When b=O, Eq. 9.1 takes the special form (which must be derived
with a limiting process as b>O)
qi
q(t)= =qieDjl . ............................ (9.2)
e
Djl
Taking the natural logarithm (In) of both sides of Eq. 9.2 gives
In[q(t)] =In(qi)+ In(e
Dj
I ), .......................• (9.3)
which, after rearranging, gives
In[q(t)] =In(qi)Dit. ...... . ..................... (9.4)
Log
Rate.q
Cumulative Production, Q
Fig. 9.4Decllnecurve shapes for a semllog plot of rate vs.
cumulative production.
216
Because the natural logarithm is related to the logarithm to the
base 10 (log) by In(x)=2.303 log(x), we can rewrite Eq. 9.4 in
terms of the log function as
Dit
10g[q(t)]=log(qi)' ........................ (9.5)
2.303
The form of Eq. 9.5 suggests that a plot of log gas flow rate,
q(t), vs. t will be a straight line with a slope D;l2.303 and an
intercept log(q). Fig. 9.2 shows the linear relationship on semi
log coordinates. If the production data exhibit linear behavior on
this semilog plot, we can use Eq. 9.5 to calculate Di from the slope
and qi from the intercept. After calculating the initial decline rate
and the initial gas flow rate, we can use Eq. 9.2 to extrapolate the
production trend into the future to some economic limit. From this
extrapolation, we can estimate gas reserves and the time at which
the economic limit will be reached.
The curve of rate vs. cumulative production for exponential
decline will be linear on a Cartesian graph, as the following deri
vation indicates. If we integrate Eq. 9.2 from initial time to time
t, we obtain
Q(t)= j Iq(t)dt= j 'qieDi'dt . ...................... (9.6)
o 0
The cumulative gas production is
D, 0
.......................... (9.7)
Rearranging yields
1 qi
Gp(t)=(qieDjl)+ . ...................... (9.S)
Di Di
Combining Eqs. 9.2 and 9.S, we can write the cumulative pro
duction relation in terms of rate,
1 qi
Gp(t) =  q(t)+ . ........................... (9.9)
Di Di
Rearranging and solving for production rate, q(t), gives
q(t)= DiGp(t)+qi' ............................ (9.10)
Eq. 9.10 suggests that a plot of q(t) vs. Gp(t) will yield a straight
line of slope Di and intercept qi' Fig. 9.3 illustrates this type
of plot.
9.3.2 Harmonic Decline. When b = I, the decline is said to be har
monic, and the general decline equation given by Eq. 9.1 reduces to
q(t) =q;l(1 +Dit) . ............................... (9.11)
Taking logarithms to the base 10 of both sides of Eq. 9.11 yields
log q(t)=log(q)log(1 +Dit) . .................... (9.12)
The form of Eq. 9.12 suggests that q(t) is a linear function of
(1 +D;t) on loglog graph paper and will exhibit a straight line with
a slope 1 and an intercept of log (qi)' To predict future perform
ance of wells exhibiting harmonic decline behavior, we must as
sume values of D; until a plot of log [q(t)] vs. 10g(1 +D;t) is a
straight line with a slope of  I. This calculation procedure requires
either prior knowledge of the decline behavior of the well or a trial
anderror procedure to choose the correct initial decline rate, D;.
To use a rate/cumulative production plot for harmonic decline,
we must integrate Eq. 9.11 with respect to time to obtain a rela
tionship for cumulative production,
Gp(t) = j 'q(t)dt= j I_q_i dt ..................... (9.13)
o 0 1 +Di
t
qj qj
or Gp(t) = In(1 +D
i
t)=2.30310g(1+D
i
t) . ....... (9.14)
D; Di
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
Substituting the rate from Eq. 9.12 into Eq. 9.14, we obtain the
rate/cumulative production relationship for harmonic decline,
q;
G
p
(t)=2.303[log q;Iog q(t)], ................ (9.15)
D;
or, in terms of production rate,
log q(t)=log qi( )Gp(t) . ................ (9.16)
2.303q;
The form of Eq. 9.16 suggests that a plot of log q(t) vs. Gp(t)
will be linear with a slope of (D;l2.303qj) and an intercept of
log(q;). This is a much simpler method of calculating the decline
rate for harmonic decline than the rate/time plot because we can
make a direct plot without prior knowledge of D
i
.
9.3.3 Hyperbolic Decline. When O<b< 1, the decline is hyper
bolic, and the rate behavior is described by
q;
q(t)= .............................. (9.1)
(1 +bD;t) lib
Taking the logarithm of both sides of Eq. 9.1 and rearranging
yields
I
log [q(t )] =Iog(qi) log(1 +bD
i
t) . ................ (9.17)
b
The form of Eq. 9. 17 suggests that, if rateitime data can be
modeled with the hyperbolic equation, then a loglog plot of q(t)
vs. (1 +bD;t) will exhibit a straight line with slope of l/b and an
intercept of log(qi)' To analyze hyperbolic decline data, however,
requires that we have prior estimates of band Di or that we use
an iterative process to estimate the values of band D i that result
in a straight line. •
The cumulative production/time relationship is obtained by in
tegrating Eq. 9.1:
Gp(t)= j 'q(t)dt= j I q; dt, ........... .... (9.IS)
o 0 (1+bD;t)lIb
or, after integrating and rearranging,
qj
Gp(t) = [(1 +bD
i
t)(lb)/( b) 1] ........... (9.19)
D;(bl)
If we substitute qi =qb qlb into Eq. 9.19 and rearrange, we can
. , ,
wnte
b
Gp(t)= q; {[qi(1+bD;t)lIbpb_
q
lb} ..... (9.20)
D
i
(bl) I
Substituting Eq. 9.1 into Eq. 9.20 yields an expression for cu
mulative gas production in terms of gas flow rate during hyperbol
ic decline:
b
Gp(t)= qi [q(t) lb _qfb] . ................ (9.21)
D
i
(bl)
As Figs. 9.1 through 9.4 show, hyperbolic decline never has a
simple straightline relationship for either rate/time or rate/cumula
tive production plots on any coordinate system. Consequently, the
most convenient way to obtain a straight line is to use special graph
paper developed for several values of b. Arpsl used q/(dq/dt) vs.
t to estimate the coefficients band D
j
• Although this plotting tech
nique should give acceptable results, field rate data generally yield
very poor derivatives, which makes this method difficult to apply
in practical analysis of production data.
DECLINECURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
TABLE 9.1GAS WELL PRODUCTION HISTORY, EXAMPLE 9.1
Producing Cumulative Gas Flow
Time Production Rate
(days) (MMscf) (Mscf/D)
30 13.4589 413.3
60 25.3066 392.8
90 36.3221 375.9
120 47.815 371.3
150 60.7706 377.5
180 71.1327 367.8
210 80.6358 356.8
240 90.3544 349.0
270 105.643 361.7
300 113.646 349.1
330 122.878 341.9
360 137.776 350.1
390 142.799 333.6
420 147.511 291.4
450 168.504 338.2
480 175.674 329.1
510 183.737 322.5
540 198.204 327.1
570 199.765 310.9
600 215.121 316.6
660 230.559 305.6
720 248.155 298.7
780 264.898 291.6
840 287.17 290.8
900 296.938 278.0
960 327.427 284.8
1,020 341.435 276.9
1.170 376.068 259.9
1,200 379.859 254.8
1,320 416.501 249.4
1,410 426.793 236.1
1,500 458.434 237.4
1,620 482.743 230.1
1,710 508.14 224.2
1,800 531.01 219.4
1,980 554.58 199.9
2,070 575.818 202.1
2,190 601.082 196.4
2,280 626.139 189.8
2,310 635.765 190.5
2,400 648.646 183.8
2,580 678.628 176.4
2,700 702.659 170.3
2,880 722.806 143.7
2,910 735.055 156.1
3,000 742.635 154.6
3,400 791.57 139.6
3,600 835.583 138.1
4,000 881.494 123.4
4,200 914.202 120.5
4,800 981.543 105.1
5,000 997.619 98.5
5,480 1,046.01 91.1
o 1000 200() 3OC() 4000
TIme (t). days
Fig. 9.5Carteslan plot of rate vs. time, Example 9.1.
217
Example 9.1Estimating Future Performance of a Gas Well
With Conventional DeclineCurve Analysis Techniques. Use the
gasproduction flow rate and cumulative production history in Ta
ble 9.1 to predict rate behavior 15 years into the future. Assuming
that the economic limit for this well is 30 MscflD, estimate the ul
timate recovery and total productive life of the well using Arps' 1
conventional analysis techniques.
Solution.
1. Because we do not know which decline equation best models
the past production performance, we construct the rate/time and
rate/cumulative production plots in Figs. 9.5 through 9.8 to ex
amine the production characteristics.
2. Examination of the curves in Figs. 9.5 through 9.8 does not
show conclusively that the decline is exponential. harmonic, or
hyperbolic. Note that not only are the semilog rateltime and the
Cartesian rate/cumulative production plots linear (indicative of ex
ponential decline), but also the semilog rate/cumulative production
plot is linear (indicative of harmonic decline). Consequently. we
will analyze this example using both exponential and harmonic
decline methods.
Exponential Decline Analysis.
1. The slope of the semilog rate/time plot (determined with a least
squares fit of the data) is
m= 0.0001317.
The initial decline rate is
Di
m=  = 0.0001317,
2.303
where D
i
=0.OOO3033 dayl =0.1107 year I
2. The intercept of the semilog rate/time plot (determined with
a leastsquares fit of the data) is
log q(t)=2.58.
which is equivalent to the log of the initial rate, qi' where qi =
10
2
.58 =380.2 MscflD.
3. We can now substitute qi and Di into Eq. 9.2 to get a partic •
ular decline equation for this well:
q(f) =380.2e(O.OOO3033r),
with time in days, or
q(t) =380.2e(O.1107r),
with time in years. Note that time is counted from t=O, so to ex
trapolate for the next 15 years, we must start at t= 16 years. The
calculated future rate performance in Table 9.2 is calculated with
the decline equation from Step 3.
4. Recall that we assumed an economic limit of 30 Mscf/D for
this well, so we can substitute that rate into the particular rate/time
relationship for this well (Step 3) to find the total productive life
of the well.
400
I
~
300
'"
. ~ ~        ~ .    
!
~
,...:;
$200         ~  4 ~ ~ ~ I _   ~    
.£
«I
~
100
0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Cumulative Production (Q), MMscf
Fig. 9.6Cartesian plot of rate vs. cumulative production,
Example 9.1.
218
g
()
'"
100
£
'" Qo:;
+"''',., .... ,'''''''''_ .. +" """"""'f"'''''''''''''' I",,,,,,,,,,,, """1","",,,, ".".""".
101+1;1+""'
o 1000 2000 3000 4000
Time (t), days
Fig. 9.7Semllog plot of rate vs. time, Example 9.1.
q(t) = 380.2e( 0.00030331),
30=380.2e( 0.0003033/),
or, solving for time,
t=8,373 days=22.9 years.
5. We can use the equation derived for the rate/cumulative pro
duction behavior for exponential declinc (Eq. 9.10) to calculate the
ultimate recovery when the economic limit is reached.
q(t)= DjGp(t)+qi'
We know that qj=380.2 MscflD and D;=0.0003033 dayI;
therefore,
q(t) = 0.0003033G
p
(t) + 380.2.
With the assumption that the remaining production history of this
well can be modeled with exponential decline, the ultimate recov
ery from this well at an economic limit of 30 MscflD is
380.230
Gp(t) Mscf
0.0003033
= 1,155,000 Mscf= 1,155 MMscf.
Harmonic Decline Analysis.
\. First, we calculate q; from the intercept of the semilog
rate/cumulative production plot. From a leastsquares fit, we esti
mate log (q;)=2.61, or
qi=407.4 MscflD.
TABLE 9.2FUTURE RATE PERFORMANCE
USING EXPONENTIAL DECLINE, EXAMPLE 9.1
Future Time Time q
(years) (years) (Mscf/D)
1 16 64.7
2 17 57.9
3 18 51.8
4 19 46.4
5 20 41.5
6 21 37.2
7 22 33.3
8 23 29.8
9 24 26.7
10 25 23.9
11 26 21.4
12 27 19.1
13 28 17.1
14 29 15.3
15 30 13.7
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
10'+;;;;;+
o 200 600 1000 1200
Cumulative Production (Q), MMscf
Fig. 9.8Semilog plot of rate vs. cumulative production, Ex
ample 9.1.
2. The slope (determined with a leastsquares fit of the data) of
the semilog rate/cumulative production plot is 0.0005478. For
cumulative production (in MMscf), the slope of the line on a semi
log rate/cumulative production plot equals
I,OOOD;
= 0.0005478.
2.303qi
Substituting for qj gives
1,000Dj
=0.0005478.
2.303(407.4)
Dj=0.000514 day I =0.1876 yearI.
3. We can now substitute qi and Di into Eqs. 9.11 and 9.12 to
obtain specific rate/time and rate/cumulative production decline
equations, respectively, for this well. The rate/time relationship is
407.4
q(t)
I +0.000514t
with time in days, or
407.4
q(t)= ,
I +0.1876t
with time in years. For time measured in days, gas flow rate (in
MscflD), and cumulative production (in Mscf), the rate/cumula
tive production relationship is
TABLE 9.3FUTURE RATE PERFORMANCE
USING HARMONIC DECLINE, EXAMPLE 9.1
Future Time Time q
(years) (years) (Mscf/D)
1 16 101.8
2 17 97.3
3 18 93.1
4 19 89.3
5 20 85.7
6 21 82.5
7 22 79.5
8 23 76.7
9 24 74.0
10 25 71.6
11 26 69.3
12 27 67.2
13 28 65.2
14 29 63.3
15 30 61.5
DECLINECURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
!
10'
•
.s
1
i
c
a
c=
•
E
is
Dlmenslonless Decline TIm.
Fig. 9.9The Fetkovich
4
rate/time and cumulative produc
tion/time decline type curve.
(
0.0005140 )
log q(t) =log(407.4)  Gp(t),
2.303 x 407.4
or G
p
(t)=4,764,264(1,825,374)log q(t).
4. We can extrapolate future performance (corresponding rates
and times) for 15 more years using the rateltime equation in Step
3. Note that time is counted from t=O. Therefore, to extrapolate
for the next 15 years, we must start at t= 16 years. Table 9.3 sum
marizes the predicted future performance.
5. Recall that we assumed an economic limit for this well of 30
Mscf/D. We can substitute that rate into the specific rateltime rela
tionship developed in Step 3 for this well to find the total produc
tive life of the well.
407.4
I +0.000514t
219
(407.4/30) I
t=
0.000514
=24,475 days=67 years .
6. At an economic limit of 30 Mscf/D and with the assumption
that future production can be modeled with harmonic decline, the
ultimate recovery from this well is
G
p
(t)=4,764,264(l,825,374)log q(t)
=4,764,264(1,825,374)log(30)
=2,067,965 Mscf=2,068 MMscf.
9.4 Decline Type Curves
Type curves (see Chap. 6) are plots of theoretical solutions to flow
equations and can be generated for virtually any kind of reservoir
model for which a general solution describing the flow behavior
is available. For type curves to be applied correctly, the engineer
must completely understand the assumptions underlying the solu
tion. Furthermore, those assumptions must accurately model the
well or reservoir conditions being analyzed. Decline type curves
have been developed so that actual production data can be matched
without special graph paper or the trialanderror procedures re
quired for the conventional declinecurve methods in Sec. 9.3. Type
curve methods use loglog graph paper to match preplotted theo
retical solutions with actual production data. Further, typecurve
analyses allow us to estimate not only original gas in place and gas
reserves at some abandonment conditions, but also the flowing char
acteristics of individual wells.
This section presents the theoretical basis (including assumptions)
and practical applications of two type curvesthe Fetkovich
4
and
the Carter
5
type curvesthat are particularly useful in gaswell
declinecurve analysis. We recommend these type curves for manual
or graphical decline analysis because they are based on theoretical
considerations, unlike Arps'l empirical declinecurve analysis'
techniques. Note that no declinecurve methods presented in this
chapter include nonDarcy effects.
TRANSENT+ DEPLETION
Fig. 9.10The Fetkovich
4
rate/time decline type curve.
220
9.4.1 Fetkovich Decline Type Curve. The Fetkovich
4
decline
type curves are based on analytical solutions to the flow equations
for production at constant BHP from a well centered in a circular
reservoir or drainage area with nojlow boundaries. Although these
type curves were developed for a homogeneousacting reservoir,
they can be used for analyzing longterm gasproduction data from
hydraulically fractured wells during the pseudoradiaJ flow period
and once the outer reservoir boundaries affect the pressure response.
Fig. 9.9 is an example of the Fetkovich decline type curves for
both rate/time and cumulative production/time analyses.
The type curves in Fig. 9.9 include both transient or infiniteacting
and boundarydominated flow regimes. Both the transient rate/time
and cumulative production/time type curves are characterized by
a correlating parameter defined as the ratio of the outer drainage
radius to the apparent wellbore radius, re1rwa' while the pseudo
steadystate flow regimes are characterized by the Arps decline con
stant, b. Again, b=O corresponds to exponential decline behavior,
while b= I represents harmonic decline. Values in the range
0< b < I suggest hyperbolic decline characteristics.
Fig. 9.10 shows a more complete example of the rateltime type
curve. Again, two flow periods are represented. The curves at small
values of dimensionless times, representing the transient or infinite
acting rate response, were generated with the analytical solution
to the radial diffusivity equation. All the transient curves converge
at a dimensionless time of about 0.3, indicating the approximate
beginning of boundarydominated flow. The boundarydominated
flow responses which were generated with Arps' empirical decline
equation, are characterized by b. Fetkovich
4
and Fetkovich et al. 6
showed, however, that the Arps equation for exponential decline
(i.e., b=O) is a latetime solution for the constantpressure case.
Like most type curves developed for pressure and flowrate data
from gas wells, the Fetkovich type curves are plotted in terms of
dimensionless variables. Specifically, the Fetkovich rate/time type
curves are plots of dimensionless rate,
50,300q(t)psc T[ln(re1r wa)  Ih]
qDd= , ............. (9.22)
Tsckh[pp(Pi )pp(Pw/)]
vs. dimensionless time,
0.OO633ktllj>p
g
c ,r£a
tDd= .............. (9.23)
1jz[(re1rwa)2 lUln(re/rwa) Ih]
Similarly, the cumulative production/time type curves are plots
of dimensionless cumulative production defined by
637.8PscTGp(t)
QDd= 2 2 ....... (9.24)
Tschtjlpgc,(r" r w)[ Pp(Pi) pp( Pw/)]
vs. the dimensionless time defined by Eq. 9.23. To include the var
iations of gas properties as a function of pressure, Eqs. 9.22 and
9.24 are defined in terms of the realgas pseudopressure, Pp' in
trodueed by AIHussainy et al. ,7
'p P
pp=2\
PO PgZ
.......................... (9.25)
Further, for a well centered in a circular drainage area, re in
Eqs. 9.22 through 9.24 is defined by
re =.J AI1f, .......................... , ..... " .. (9.26)
and r w a r w e ~ s . ................................ (9.27)
For noncircular reservoir boundaries and development patterns
different from wells centered in circular reservoirs, the shape fac
tor, C
A
, can be accounted for in the skin factor term by use of Fet
kovich and Vienot's8 equation,
rwa=rwexp(sCA)' ............................ (9.28)
where SCA is the pseudosteadystate skin factor based on shape
factors,
SCA =In,,)CA,ref/CA,new' ......................... (9.29)
Shape factors for various well locations and reservoir drainage
area shapes are given in Appendix C. In Eqs. 9.22 through 9.24,
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
q(t)=gas flow rate, MscflD; t=time, days; k=permeability to gas,
md; h=thiekness of productive zone, ft; Pp(Pi) = realgas pseu
dopressure function evaluated at initial reservoir pressure,
psia
2
/cp; pp(Pw/) = realgas pseudopressure function evaluated at
bottomhole flowing pressure (BHFP), psia
2
/cp; psc=pressure at
standard conditions, psia; Tsc = temperature at standard conditions,
OR; T=formation temperature. OR; <t>=porosity, fraction; pg=gas
viscosity, cp; and c r = total system compressibility, psia 1.
Like the typecurve analysis procedures in Chap. 6, application
of the Fetkovich type curves requires that we match the shape of
the field data with a type curve. From this match, we can estimate
gas reserves and formation properties. The following procedure is
recommended for declinecurve analysis with the Fetkovieh type
curve.
Procedure for Gas Well DeclineCurve Analysis With the Fet
kovich Type Curve.
1. Plot q(t) and Gp(t) vs. t on loglog paper (3in. log eycles)
or tracing paper with the same size logarithmic cycles as the Fet
kovich type curve.
2. Match the cumulative production data to the bestfitting type
curve. Note that the cumulative production data plot often is much
smoother than the rate plot and therefore is easier to match to de
termine the Arps decline constant.
Because decline typecurve analysis is based on boundary
dominated flow conditions, there is no basis for choosing the proper
b values for future boundarydominated production if only tran
sient data are available. In addition, because of the similarity of
curve shapes, unique typecurve matches are difficult to obtain with
transient data only. If it is apparent that boundarydominated data
are present and can be matched on a curve for a particular value
of b, we can extrapolate into the future accurately.
3. Record values of the correlating parameters for transient and
boundarydominated flow (i.e., re1rwa and b, respectively) from
the match of the cumulative production data. Next, force a fit of
the rate/time data with a type curve having the same values of
rJr wa and b. Note that the cumulative production/time and
rate/time curves are not matched simultaneously but individually;
i.e., we move and rematch the field data plot overlying the type
curves.
4. Select a rate match point [q(t), qDd]MP on the rate/time curve
and calculate formation permeability using the definition of dimen
sionless flow rate given by Eq. 9.22:
k
=[ q(t)] 50,300PscT[ln(re
lr
wa) \12]
......... (9.30)
qDd MP Tsch[pp(Pi)pp(Pw/)]
5. Calculate the initial surface gas flow rate, qi, at t=O from the
rate match point:
qi=[q(t)lqDd]MP' ........................... , ... (9.31)
6. While the data are in the matched position, select a time match
point (t,tDd)MP and calculate the initial decline rate, D
i
.
Di=(tDd1t)MP' ................................ (9.32)
7. The reservoir pore volume (PV) in the drainage area of the
well at the beginning of boundarydominated flow, V
p
' can be de
rived from the time and rate match points:
2,OOOPsJ ( t) [q(t) l
Vp= (PgC/)iT[Pp(Pi)Pp(Pw/)] tDd MP qDd MP
................................. (9.33)
Assuming a circular drainage area gives
re=.JVpl7rh4> ................................. ,(9.34)
and A ........ , ............................. (9.35)
8. Calculate the skin factor from the re/r wa matching parame
ter and values of A or re from Step 7:
[
rw(re/r
wa
)] [rw(re)]
s=ln ~ =In   ................ (9.36)
'JAI1f re rwa
9. Extrapolate the rate/time curve into the future either graphi
cally along the same stem used to match past performance or al
DECLINECURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
TABLE 9.4RESERVOIR PROPERTIES, EXAMPLE 9.2
Net pay, ft
Wellbore radius, ft
Initial pressure, psia
Pseudopressure evaluated at initial pressure,
psia
2
/cp
BHFP, pSia
Pseudopressure evaluated at BHP, psia
2
/cp
Reservoir temperature, of
Wet gas gravity (air = 1.0)
Water saturation, fraction
Water compressibility, pSia
1
Formation compressibility, psi a  1
Porosity, fraction
Gas viscosity evaluated at initial pressure. cp
Gas FVF at initial pressure, RB/Mscf
Total compressibility at initial
32.0
0.365
3,500
8.322 x 10
8
500
2.106x 107
180
0.689
0.34
3.6x10
6
4x10
6
0.12
0.02095
0.8174
pressure, psia
1
1.5741xlO
4
gebraically by substituting the chosen b value and calculated Di
and q; values into the Arps general decline equation,
............................... (9.1) q(t)
(1 +bDil) lib
The production data should not be extrapolated past the economic
limit for the well in question. The productive life of the well can
be estimated from the rate/time extrapolation at this point or can
be calculated with the general decline equation developed with Eq.
9.1.
Example 9.2DeclineCurve Analysis With the Fetkovich Type
Curves. Use the Fetkovich type curve, the gas flow rate and cu
mulative gas production data from Example 9.1, and the well and
reservoir properties in Tables 9.4 and 9.1 to estimate k and s. If
possible, predict the gasflowrate behavior 15 years into the fu
ture and, assuming that the economic limit for this well is 30
MscflD, estimate the productive life of the well and the ultimate
gas recovery.
Solution.
l. Plot gas flow rate, q(t). and cumulative production, Gp(l),
vs. t on loglog paper or tracing paper with the same size logarith
mic cycles as the Fetkovich type curve (3in. log cycles). This plot,
shown in Fig. 9.11, is not to scale.
2. Match the cumulative production data to the bestfitting type
curve. It is apparent that boundarydominated data are present be
cause some data fall to the right of the inflection point on the type
curves and can be matched on a curve corresponding to a particu
lar b value.
3. Record the transient and boundarydominated correlating pa
rameters from the match of the cumulative production data. For
transient flow. r e/ r wa '" 800, while for pseudosteadystate flow,
b=O.4. Force a fit for the rate/time data with the same values of
fe/rwa and b.
4. While the data are in the matched position, select a rate match
point, [q(t),qDd]MP, on the rate/time curve. For this example, we
chose q(t)=I,OOO Mscf/D and qDd=2.8.
Permeability is estimated to be
k=[ q(t) J 50,300Psc
T
[ln(re/
r
wa) 1I2J
qDd MP Tsch[Pp(Pi)Pp(Pwj)]
=0.08 md.
50,300( 14.65)(640)[ln(800) 0.5]
(520)(32)(8.322 X)08 2.106x )07)
5. Calculate the initial surface gas flow rate at 1=0 from the rate
match point.
221
...
u
§
...
0
§
u
..
C'
'&
lo'tttrtH1ti++t++HfH+++t+lW
I, days
Fig. 9.11Gas production rate and cumulative production va.
time, Example 9.2.
q; = [q(/)lqDd]MP
'" 1,00012.8
=357.1 Mscf/D.
Note that this rate is lower than the rate at 30 days. qi repre
sents a hypothetical initial rate that would have occurred had the
well been in boundarydominated flow at 1=0. However, as the
typecurve match shows, the early data are in transient flow, and
boundary effects have not yet been felt. Consequently, the calcu
lated rate at time 1=0 is lower than the actual measured rate.
6. While the data are in the same matched position, select a time'
match point, (/,tDd)MP' For this example, we chose 1= 100 days
and tDd=0.034.
From the time match point, the initial decline rate is estimated
to be
D;=(tDdit)MP
=0.034/l00
=0.00034 dayl =0.1241 yearI.
7. The reservoir PV, Vp (ft
3
), in the drainage area of the well
at the onset of boundarydominated flow can be estimated from the
time and rate match points:
(2,000)(14.65)(640)
(0.02095)(1.5741 x 10 4)(520)(8.322 X 10
8
2.106 X 10
7
)
( 100) (1,000)
x 0.034 MP MP
14,245,000 ft3.
Assuming a circular drainage area,
fe=..JVphrh4>
. I 14,245,000
= 11"(32.0)(0.12)
= 1,087 ft.
222
The drainage area is
A
=11"(1,087)2
=3,712,000 ft2 =85 acres.
8. We know the drainage area, so we can estimate s using the
transient matching parameter, re1rwa'
l
(0.365)(800) 1
=In .J3.712,00011r
1.3.
9. We can now extrapolate the rate curve into the future. Sub
stituting the chosen b value and calculated D
j
and qi values into
Arps' general decline equation, we have
qi
q(t)
(1 +bDjt) lib
=357.14[1 + (0.000136)t] 2.5 Mscf/D.
Note that time is in days and is counted from time 1=0, so if
we wish to extrapolate forthe next 15 years, we must start att= 16
years (5,840 days). For time in years, the general decline equation is
q(l) =357.14[1 + (0.0496)1] 2.5MscflD.
Table 9.5 summarizes the future performance estimated with the
general decline equation developed for timc in years.
Recall that we assumed an economic limit for this well of 30
MscflD. We can substitute that rate into the rateltime decline rela
tionship for this well to find the total productive life of the well.
q(I)=357.14[1 + (0.04936)t] 2.5.
Solving for time 1 yields
t=
0.04936
0.04936
=34.3 years.
11(2.5) J
I
11(2.5) 1
I
10. We can integrate the general decline equation to obtain a rela
tionsllip between cumulative production and time measured in years.
Gp(t) It q(l)dl= J '357.14[1 +(0.04936)1] 2.5dt
1=0 0
357.14
[1 +(0.04936)1] 1.5
(0.04936)( 1.5)
357.14
(0.04936)( 1.5)
1,761 x 10
3
{1[1 +(0.04936)1] 1.5 }Mscf.
The well will reach the economic limit of 30 MscflD at a time
of 34.3 years, so the ultimate recovery from this well is
Gp(t) = I ,761 X 10
3
{I [1 +(0.04936)1] 1.5} Mscf
= 1,761 X 10
3
{1 [1 +(0.04936)(34.3)] 1.5} Mscf
== 1,362,530 Mscf= I ,363 MMscf.
Comparison of the results from the Fetkovich typecurve analy
sis with those obtained from conventional analyses in Example 9.1
suggests that the decline is neither exponential nor harmonic, but
hyperbolic. The value of the boundarydominated correlating pa
rameter obtained from the Fetkovich typeeurve match (Le., b=OA)
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
TABLE 9.SFUTURE RATE PERFORMANCE
FROM THE FETKOVICH TYPE CURVE, EXAMPLE 9.2
Future Time Time q
(years) (years) (MscflO)

1 16 82.9
2 17 77.4
3 18 72.5
4 19 67.9
5 20 63.8
6 21 60.0
7 22 56.5
8 23 53.3
9 24 50.3
10 25 47.6
11 26 45.0
12 27 42.7
13 28 40.5
14 29 38.5
15 30 36.6
seems to verifY this observation. The results we obtained from con
ventional analysis in Example 9.1, assuming an exponential decline,
proved to be pessimistic predictions; however, when we assumed
a harmonic decline, we obtained very optimistic results.
9.4.2 Carter Decline Type Curve. The Fetkovich type curve was
developed to model the flow of a slightly compressible liquid and
consequently assumes that the liquid viscositycompressibility prod
uct is constant over the entire productive life of a well. Although
valid for modeling liquid flow during both transient and boundary
dominated flow regimes, for gas flow this assumption is correct
only during transient flow (and possibly after boundary effects have
been felt if the pressure drawdown is small). The accuracy of the
Fetkovich type curves for analyzing gas wells with large pressure
drawdowns can be improved, however. if we define the dimen
sionless rate and cumulative production variables in terms of the
realgas pseudopressure function. •
Carter
5
offered improved accuracy by plotting functions that in
clude the changes in gas properties with pressure. The Carter type
curve was developed specifically for gaswell declinecurve analy
sis and improves the accuracy by considering the variation of the
product p.g( P)cg( p) with average reservoir pressure. Carter cor
related rate/time behavior during boundarydominated flow with
a parameter, A, defined as the ratio of P.g(Pi)cg< Pi) to iigcg evalu
ated at the average reservoir pressure, p, and calculated as
P.(Pi)cg(Pi) [Pp(Pi)Pp(Pw/)]
A= ............... (9.37)
2 [(plz)j(plz)w/]
Liquid flow, characterized by a relatively constant value of the
viscositycompressibility product, is represented by A= 1. The mini
mum value of A is 0.5, representing maximum gasreservoir
drawdown.
The Carter type curve is based on finitedifference solutions to
the radial gas flow equations for production at constant BHP. In
developing the solutions, Carter assumed a well centered in a sym
metrical reservoir with constant thickness, porosity, and permea
bility. Note that, like the Fetkovich type curve, the Carter type curve
does not consider nonDarcy flow effects. The Carter type curve
(Fig. 9.12) is a loglog plot of dimensionless rate, qD, vs. dimen
sionless time, tD:
1,424q(t)T(lIB
I
)
akh[p
p
( Pi) Pp(P,.f)]
and, for time in days,
0.00633kt
...................... (9.38)
tp . ........... . ........... (9.39)
tPp.( Pi)C g( Pi)r J.
The parameter a in Eq. 9.38 is the fraction of21r radians defming
the approximate equivalent ring shape of the reservoir (Fig. 9.13).
DECLINECURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
,, t..:lU
". L'IIW
,,_Loe
"aUt
,,_LON
A=. 1
A = .75 _____ _
A = .55 _____ _
qo = 1424 CiT (1/131)
akh[m(pt)m(pw)]
to = 2.634 X 10 4 X 24 kt
tP)J.jCgi rw
2
0.1
223
to
Fig. 9.12The CarterS decline type curve.
(1  1
(1 = 0.25
(1=1
R _.!it
Tw
(1 0
Fig. 9.13Flowsystem shape approximation for the Carter
5
type curve.
The correlating parameter during boundarydominated flow is
f.., which is calculated by Eq. 9.37. Similarly. the correlating pa
rameter during transient or infiniteacting flow is 7/. where 7/ is a
function of the parameter R. The relationship between 7/ and R is
given in Fig. 9.14 or can be calculated from
7/ (R2
2

1
) (::). ............................. (9.40)
where R=relrwo' ................................. (9.41)
r
e
=.JAl1r, .................................... (9.26)
and r wa =r wes. . ................................ (9.27)
For radial flow in the reservoir, R should exceed =30, and Eq.
9.42 can be used to estimate 0:,:
[2/(R2 1)]
0:"[ = . ...... . ...................... (9.42)
In(R)0.75
We can substitute Eq. 9.42 into Eq. 9.40 to obtain an expression
for 7/ in terms of B, and R only:
11= (;,). .......................... (9.43)
Because 7/ is known, we can obtain an expression for liB, dur
ing radial flow:
lIB, =7/[ln(R)0.75] ............................ (9.44)
As R> 1, the flow in the reservoir has an approximate linear flow
geometry that occurs in hydraulically fractured wells before the onset
of pseudo radial flow. Under these conditions, we can estimate 0:,
using Eq. 9.45 and the quantity uB, using Eq. 9.46:
0:, =11'/2 ........•..•.•......................... (9.45)
and uB, =2 ...................................... (9.46)
224
1.30+++H'H'ffiit'H'+tHtt++tt+tttt_
1.25
1.20
1.10
1.05
R = r",
Fig. 9.14Variation of the parameter '1 with R for the CarterS
type curve.
We recommend the following procedure for using the Carter type
curve.
Procedure for Gas Well DeclineCurve Analysis Using the Car
ter Type Curve.
I. Compute the pseudosteadystateflow correlating parameter, A:
A= /l(Pi)cg(Pi) [Pp(Pi)Pp(Pw
j
)] . .............. (9.37)
2 [(P/Z)i (plz)"j]
2. Plot the gas flow rate in MscflD vs. t in days on tracing paper
with 3in. log cycles (i.e., the same size loglog paper as the Car
ter type curves).
3. Match the production data on the Carter type curve with the
appropriate value of A calculated in Step 1. Maintaining the data
in the matched position, select rate, [q(t),qD]MP, and time,
(t,tD)MP, match points. In addition, choose a value for 1] from the
earlytime match.
4. With the value of 1] from Step 3, read the corresponding value
of R from Fig. 9.14. For radial flow, calculate B I from Eq. 9.44:
liB I =1][ln(R)0.75] ............................ (9.44)
For linear flow that occurs in hydraulically fractured wells be
fore the onset of pseudo radial flow, determine ex I and aB I from
Eqs. 9.45 and 9.46:
ex I = 7r/2 ....................................... (9.45)
and aBI =2 ...................................... (9.46)
JO'+4,;,,.....,i... 4,+,+, +4,,4+, +,+, +, +, HTirHrl!+!tt
10' 10'
t, days
Fig. 9.15Gas production rate vs. time, Example 9.3.
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
TABLE 9.6RESERVOIR AND WELL PROPERTIES DATA,
EXAMPLE 9.3
Net pay, ft
Wellbore radius, ft
Initial pressure, psia
32.0
0.365
3,500
Pseudopressure evaluated at initial pressure,
psia
2
/cp
BHFP, psia
Pseudopressure evaluated at BHP, psia
2
/cp
Reservoir temperature, OF
Wet gas gravity (air = 1.0)
Water saturation, fraction
Water compressibility, psi a 1
Formation compressibility, psia 1
Porosity, fraction
Gas viscosity evaluated at initial pressure, cp
Gas FVF at initial pressure, RB/Mscf
8.322 X 10
8
500
2.106x 10
7
180
0.689
0.34
3.6x10
6
4x10
6
0.12
0.02095
0.8174
Total compressibility at initial
pressure, psia  1
Drainage area, acres
1.5741 x 10
4
85
5. Calculate permeability from the rate match point using the defi
nition of dimensionless flow rate. For radial flow, estimate a from
Fig. 9.13 and calculate permeability using Eq. 9.47.
k=[ q(t) l 1,424T1][ln(R)0.75] ................ (9.47)
qD Mpah[Pp(Pi)pp(Pwj)]
For linear flow, aB I = 2 and
k=[ ................ (9.48)
6. If the drainage area or drainage area radius is known, we can
calculate the skin factor. Combining Eqs. 9.26 and 9.41, we obtain
[
r w
R
l (r".)
s=ln .JA/7r =In ;;R ........................ (9.49).
7. Estimate the recoverable gas, G
r
(in Mscf), when the aver
age reservoir pressure has reached the constant BHFP. Use the rate
and time match points selected in Step 3.
Lp C:) MP' ....................... (9.50)
8. Extrapolate the future performance to the economic limit of
the well using the type curve chosen for the match.
Example 9.3DeclineCurve Analysis With the Carter Type
Curves. Use the Carter type curve to estimate k and s and to predict
TABLE 9.7FUTURE PERFORMANCE ESTIMATED FROM
CARTER DECLINE TYPE CURVES, EXAMPLE 9.3
Time Time q
(years) (days) (Mscf/D)
16 5,840 84.0
17 6,205 78.0
18 6,570 70.5
19 6,935 68.5
20 7,300 62.0
21 7,665 57.5
22 8,030 51.5
23 8,395 49.0
24 8,760 46.0
25 9,125 43.5
26 9,490 42.5
27 9,855 41.0
28 10,220 37.0
29 10,585 34.5
30 10,950 32.0
DECLlNE·CURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
rate behavior 15 years into the future for the well given in Exam·
pIes 9.1 and 9.2. Assuming again that the economic limit for the
well is 30 MscflD, estimate the productive life of the well. In ad·
dition, compare the results from the Carter type curve with those
obtained from Examples 9.1 and 9.2. Table 9.6 gives the well pro
duction data. Note that the drainage area, A, is 85 acres.
Solution.
1. First, compute" with Eq. 9.37:
2[( plz)i ( p1z)wj 1
0.02095(2.3059 x 1O
4
)(8.322X 10
8
2.106x 10
7
)
2[(3500/0.89152)  (500/0.95248)]
=0.58.
As an approximation, use the curve for ,,=0.55.
2. Plot q(/) in MscflD vs. 1 in days on tracing paper with 3in.
log cycles. Note that the plot in Fig. 9.15 is not to scale.
3. Match the Carter type curve with ,,=0.55 calculated from Step
I. Maintaining the data in the matched position, we select the fol
lowing rate and time match points and a value for 1'/ from the early
match:
q(t)= I ,000 MscflD and qD=2.6.
1=10,000 days and ID=4.2.
and 1'/= 1.004.
4. Read the corresponding value of R from Fig. 9.14 at the value
of 1'/ from Step 3.
R=IOO at 1'/=1.004.
This is an acceptable value of R because we know that we have
radial flow and R should be >30. Therefore,
liB I =1'/[ln(R)0.75]
= 1.004[ln(l00)0.75]
=3.87.
5. Calculate k from the rate match point. From Fig. 9.13 for a
cylindrical reservoir, a= I. Therefore,
k=[q(t)] 1,424T1'/[ln(R)0.75]
% MP ah[ppCPi)Pp(Pwj)]
(l ,424)(640)(l.004)[ln(lOO) 0.75]
(1)(32)(8.322 x 10
8
 2.I06x 10
7
)
=0.05 md.
6. We have an estimate of drainage area (A =85 acres), so we
can calculate s.
s=ln(r wR1.../ AI7r)
[
0.365(100) 1
In
 .../ (85 x43,560)/1I'
= 3.4.
7. Estimate recoverable gas when the average reservoir pressure
has reached the constant BHFP:
1'/ [q(t») (I) ]
G
r
=;: qD MP 'D MP
1.004 ( 1,000) ( 10,000)
= 0.58 u; MP 42 MP
= 1,585,196 Mscf = 1,585 MMscf.
225
8. Graphically, continue along the curve for ,,=0.55 and
1'/ = 1.004 and extrapolate future performance (i.e., corresponding
rates and times). Table 9.7 summarizes the estimated future per
formance.
The productive life of the well is estimated from the type curve
match to be 31.5 years (11 ,500 days) at an economic limit of 30
MscflD.
Table 9.8 summarizes the results of the analyses from Exam
ples 9.1 through 9.3. Note that the results from the Fetkovich and
Carter decline typecurve analyses agree; however, in theory the
results from the Carter typecurve analysis should be more accurate
because this method incorporates the effect of changing gas prop·
erties. Note also that neither the exponential nor harmonic analy
ses agree with the decline typecurve results, which suggests that
the decline behavior of this well is hyperbolic.
9.4.3 Limitations of Decline Type Curves. Declinecurve methods
provide a method for estimating original gas in place and ultimate
recoveries at some abandonment condition from a well or an en
tire field. In addition, decline curves can be used to estimate future
production and productive life. However, declinecurve analysis
techniques have several important limitations.
Recall that the Fetkovich type curves were generated with the
assumption that the well is produced at a constant BHP. Further,
the type curves assume that k and s remain constant with time. Any
changes in field development strategies or production operation prac
tices, however, could change the production trends of a well and
significantly affect reserve estimates from declinecurve techniques.
For example, proration schedules may require that some wells be
shut in periodically or that production be curtailed, thus changing
the BHFP. In addition, if the well is stimulated either from acidiz
ing or hydraulic fracturing then s changes. Consequently,
Fetkovich
4
and Fetkovich et at. 6 recommend incremental analy
sis of the changed production data relative to the established pro
duction trend.
As mentioned, the basis of decline typecurve analysis is the as
sumption that boundaries affect the rate responseLe., boundary
dominated flowing conditions have been reached. The boundaries
may be noflow reservoir boundaries, sealing faults, or interfer
ence effects from adjacent producing wells. If true boundary
dominated flow is not established, then there is no theoretical ba
sis for declinecurve methods and predictions of future production
may be inaccurate. Much of the latetime production data from wells
located offcenter of the drainage areas or in lowpermeability reser
voirs, which take long times to stabilize, may not represent true
boundarydominated flow.
Finally, declinecurve analysis assumes a volumetric reservoir
i.e., a closed reservoir that receives no energy from external sources,
such as pressure maintenance from an encroaching aquifer. When
applied to individual wells, declinecurve analysis assumes a volu
metric, and unchanging, drainage volume for the well. This assump
tion means that the producing behavior of neighboring wells also
must be stabilized. Any changes in well development patterns or
production operations can change the drainage volume of a well
and affect the decline behavior. For example, infield development
wells drilled in a relatively homogeneous reservoir could reduc!
the drainage volumes of existing producers.
9.5 Summary
This chapter should prepare you to do the following tasks.
I. Define the methodology and objectives of declinecurve
analysis.
2. State the basis of conventional declinecurve analysis (Arps'
empirical equation) and its assumptions.
3. Sketch the shape of exponential. harmonic. and hyperbolic
declines on Cartesian and semilog ratevs.time plots.
4. Sketch the shape of exponential, harmonic, and hyperbolic
declines on Cartesian and semilog ratevs.cumulativeproduction
plots.
226
TABLE 9.SCOMPARISON OF RESULTS FROM
EXAMPLES 9.1 THROUGH 9.3
Exponential Harmonic Fetkovich Carter Type
Decline Decline Curve Curve
Productive
Limit, years 22.9 67.0 34.3 31.5
Ultimate
Recovery,
MMscf 1,155 2,068 1,362 < 1,585
Gas Flow Rate (MscflD)
Future Time
(years)
1 64.7 101.8 83.4 84.0
2 57.9 97.3 77.9 78.0
3 51.8 93.1 72.9 70.5
4 46.4 89.3 68.4 68.5
5 41.5 85.7 64.2 62.0
6 37.2 82.5 60.4 57.5
7 33.3 79.5 56.9 51.5
8 29.8 76.7 53.6 49.0
9 26.7 74.0 50.6 46.0
10 23.9 71.6 47.9 43.5
11 21.4 69.3 45.3 42.5
12 19.1 67.2 43.0 41.0
13 17.1 65.2 40.8 37.0
14 15.3 63.3 38.8 34.5
15 13.7 61.5 36.9 32.0
TABLE 9.9PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.1
Gas Flow
Time Rate
(days) (Mscf/D)
182.5 7,714.9
365.0 6,486.6
547.5 5,635.4
730.0 5,208.5
912.5 5,088.5
1,095.0 4,569
1,277.5 4,069
1,460.0 3,691.1
1,642.5 3,767.7
1,825.0 3,343.6
2,007.5 3.059.4
2,190.0 3,064.8
2,372.5 2,665.6
2,555.0 2,493.7
2,737.5 2,525.2
2,920.0 2,301.7
3,102.5 2,130.1
3,285.0 2,112.6
3,467.5 1,842.7
3,650.0 1,847.1
3,832.5 1,698
4,015.0 1,611.1
4,197.5 1,515
4,380.0 1,448.2
4,562.5 1,381.2
4,745.0 1,305.1
4,927.5 1,267.1
5,110.0 1,229
5,292.5 1,119.3
5,475.0 1,065.5
5. Derive the exponential decline relationship and plotting func
tions from Arps' general equation.
6. Derive the harmonic decline relationship and plotting func
tions from Arps' general equation.
7. Derive the hyperbolic decline relationship and plotting func
tions from Arps' general equation.
8. Estimate future performance of a gas well with conventional
declinecurve analysis.
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
TABLE 9.1DWELL AND RESERVOIR PROPERTIES
AND PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.2 AND 9.3
Net pay, ft
Well bore radius, ft
Initial pressure, psia
76.0
0.365
6,825
Pseudopressure evaluated at initial pressure,
psia
2
/cp 2.0694 x 10
9
BHFP, psia 300
Pseudopressure evaluated at BHP, psia
2
/cp 6.9052 x 10
6
Reservoir temperature, OF 270
Wet gas gravity (air = 1.0) 0.75
Water saturation. fraction 0.54
Water compressibility, psia 1 3.6x 10
6
Formation compressibility, psia 1 1 x 10
5
PorOSity, fraction 0.095
z factor at initial pressure 1.0653
z factor at BHFP 0.97691
Gas viscosity evaluated at initial pressure, cp 0.0299
Gas FVF at initial pressure, RB/Mscf 0.61962
Gas compressibility at initial
pressure, psia 1
Drainage area, acres
Economic limit, Mscf/D
Producing
Time
(days)
182.5
365.0
547.5
730.0
912.5
1,095.0
1,277.5
1,460.0
1,642.5
1,825.0
2,007.5
2,190.0
2,372.5
2,555.0
2,737.5
2,920.0
3,102.5
3,285.0
3,467.5
3,650.0
3,832.5
4,015.0
4,197.5
4,380.0
4,562.5
4,745.0
4,927.5
5,110.0
5,292.5
5,475.0
Cumulative
Production
(MMscf)
1,932.1
3,211.0
4,311.0
5,298.2
6,237.3
7,116.3
7,902.5
8,609.2
9,290.0
9,937.4
10,520.9
11,079.7
11,601.3
12,071.7
12,529.7
12,969.6
13,373.7
13,760.8
14,121.0
14,457.6
14,780.8
15,082.7
15,367.8
15,638.1
15,896.2
16,141.2
16,375.8
16,603.6
16,817.6
17,016.9
9.023 x 10
5
20
50
Gas Flow
Rate
(MscflD)
7,714.9
6,486.6
5,635.4
5,208.5
5,088.5
4,569
4,069
3,691.1
3,767.7
3,343.6
3,059.4
3,064.8
2,665.6
2,493.7
2,525.2
2,301.7
2,130.1
2,112.6
1,842.7
1,847.1
1,698
1,611.1
1,515
1,448.2
1,381.2
1,305.1
1,267.1
1,229
1,119.3
1,065.5
9. State the theoretical basis and assumptions for the Fetkovich
decline type curve and identify the information that can be obtained
from analysis with the Fetkovich decline type curve.
10. State a procedure for gaswell declinecurve analysis with
the Fetkovich decline type curve.
11. Analyze gaswell production data with the Fetkovich decline
type curve.
12. State the theoretical basis and assumptions for the Carter
decline type curve and identify the information that can be obtained
from analysis with the Carter decline type curve.
13. State a procedure for gaswell declinecurve analysis with
the Carter decline type curve.
14. Analyze gaswell production data with the Carter decline type
curve.
15. State the limitations of decline type curves.
Questions for Discussion
1. What are the advantages of analyzing production data com
pared with alternative methods of forecasting future performance
DECLlNE·CURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
TABLE 9.11PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.4
Incremental Incremental
Time Production Time Production
(months) (MMscf) (months) (MMscf)
1 137.792 25 38.195
2 156.079 26 37.856
3 132.681 27 30.186
4 136.731 28 31.671
5 120.615 29 28.547
6 115.589 30 24.549
7 103.547 31 24.018
8 101.154 32 20.904
9 90.616 33 19.660
10 78.505 34 15.847
11 74.353 35 21.624
12 68.654 36 20.655
13 68.500 37 18.012
14 62.803 38 17.638
15 57.499 39 16.076
16 56.763 40 18.732
17 57.599 41 18.244
18 56.193 42 15.752
19 50.461 43 14.640
20 49.463 44 16.198
21 48.055 45 18.392
22 43.747 46 14.758
23 43.482 47 13.082
24 38.089 48 13.692
and estimating formation properties? What are the drawbacks?
2. What assumptions are made in the development and applica
tion of the Fetkovich type curve?
3. Describe the analysis of gaswell production data with decline
curve techniques. What are the limitations of analyzing gas
performance data with liquid relations (e.g., exponential decline
semilog plot, Fetkovich type curve)?
4. How can we solve the gas flow problem using solutions based
on liquid flow? What steps are involved in this process?
5. Suppose that the rate and pressure for a well vary continuous
ly and significantly during production. Suggest a method of analyz
ing and interpreting these data with conventional declinecurve
analysis and typecurve methods.
6. You are asked to provide a production forecast for a new well.
You are given reservoir properties, an estimate of reservoir size
and shape, and gas properties, and the BHP is specified and con
stant with time. Describe the tools (equation, plots, etc.) that you
could use to make this prediction. What are the limitations of this
approach?
7. Suppose you are given a transientpressure drawdown and
buildup sequence to analyze. Describe your analysis procedure for
these data. Using these data and your analysis results, you are to
forecast longterm production. Describe your forecasting proce
dures. What are the specific objectives of your forecast?
Exercises
I. Use conventional (Arps) decline curve techniques to predict
rate behavior 15 years into the future for the historical rate data
in Table 9.9.
2. Use the data in Table 9.10 to estimate permeability and skin
factor to predict rates 15 years into the future. Use the Fetkovich
type curve for this analysis, and compare your results with the con
ventional method of Exercise 1.
3. Use the data in Table 9.10 to estimate permeability and skin
factor and to predict rate behavior 15 years into the future. Use
the Carter type curve for this analysis. Compare your results with
the conventional method of Exercise 1 and the Fetkovich typecurve
method of Exercise 2.
4. Estimate the future of production for the well with the pro
duction data in Table 9.11.9 Use conventional declineeurve anal
ysis and both Fetkovich and Carter decline type curves. Assume
economic limit rate is 1 % of peak rate.
227
TABLE 9.12PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.5
Incremental Incremental
Time Production Time Production
(months) (MMscf) (months) (MMscf)
1 1.302 19 6.209
2 8.400 20 5.855
3 10.838 21 4.933
4 11.559 22 4.569
5 10.659 23 4.227
6 12.159 24 3.639
7 11.949 25 3.510
8 12.563 26 3.135
9 12.283 27 3.125
10 12.746 28 2.664
11 12.398 29 2.631
12 12.125 30 2.440
13 12.439 31 2.385
14 12.146 32 2.148
15 11. 711 33 3.017
16 10.254 34 1.719
17 8.152 35 1.673
18 7.866 36 1.562
5. Estimate the future production for the well with the produc
tion data in Table 9.12.9 Use conventional declinecurve analysis
and both Fetkovich and Carter decline type curves. Assume eco
nomic limit rate is 1 % of peak rate.
6. Use conventional declinecurve analysis to predict rates 15
years into the future for a well whose historical rate data is sum
marized in Table 9.13.
7. Use the data in Table 9.14 to estimate permeability and skin
factor and to predict rates 15 years into the future. Use the Fet
kovich type curve for this analysis, and compare your results with
those based on the conventional declinecurve analysis of Exercise 6.
8. Use the data in Table 9.14 10 estimate permeability and skin
factor and to predict rates 15 years into the future. Use the Carter
type curve for this analysis. Compare your results with those based
on the conventional declinecurve analysis of Exercise 6 and tfie
Fetkovich typecurve method of Exercise 7.
9. Estimate the future gas production for the well whose pro
duction data are summarized in Table 9.15.
10
Use conventional
declinecurve analysis and both Fetkovich and Carter decline type
curves. Assume economic limit rate is 1 % of peak rate.
Nomenclature
A = drainage area, L2, acres
b = Arps declinecurve constant
TABLE 9.13PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.6
Cumulative Average Gas
Time Production Flow Rate
(days) (MMscf) (MscflD)
54.8 46.6 816
72.8 58.2 621
91.3 69.4 597
109.5 80.1 578
146.0 100.7 552
182.5 120.3 531
365.0 207.3 479
547.5 292.2 451
730.0 372.4 428
912.5 448.7 408
1,095.0 521.6 390
1,460.0 657.9 357
1,825.0 782.9 328
2,190.0 897.6 302
2,555.0 1,004.0 279
3,102.0 1,148.4 249
3,650.0 1,277.5 223
4,197.5 1,393.5 201
4,745.0 1,498.0 181
5,475.0 1,622.2 159
228
TABLE 9.14WELL AND RESERVOIR PROPERTIES
AND PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.7 AND 9.8
Net pay, ft 53.0
0.3280
2,700
Wellbore radius, It
Initial pressure, psia
Pseudopressure evaluated at initial pressure,
psia 2/cp 5.2078 x 10
8
BHFP, psia 600
Pseudopressure evaluated at BHP, psia
2
/cp 2.8887 x 10
7
Reservoir temperature, of 165
Wet gas gravity (air = 1.0) 0.72
Water saturation, fraction 0.37
Water compressibility, pSia 1 3.6x 10
6
Formation compressibility, psia 1 4x 10
6
Porosity, fraction 0.081
z factor at initial pressure 0.8399
z factor at BHFP 0.9350
Gas viscosity evaluated at initial pressure, cp 0.0196
Gas FVF at initial pressure, RB/Mscf 0.8929
Gas compressibility at initial
pressure, pSia 1
Drainage area, acres
Economic limit, MscflD
Time
(days)
54.8
72.8
91.3
109.5
146.0
182.5
365.0
547.5
730.0
912.5
1,095.0
1,460.0
1,825.0
2,190.0
2,555.0
3,102.0
3,650.0
4,197.5
4,745.0
5,475.0
Cumulative
Production
(MMscf)
46.6
58.2
69.4
80.1
100.7
120.3
207.3
292.2
372.4
448.7
521.6
657.9
782.9
897.6
1,004.0
1,148.4
1,277.5
1,393.5
1,498.0
1,622.2
3.1834 x 10
4
40
25
Gas Flow
Rate
(Mscf/D)
816
621
597
578
552
531
479
451
428
408
390
357
328
302
279
249
223
201
181
159
BI
= firstorder coefficient derived from series
expansion of dimensionless flow rate in terms of
first order Bessel functions
c
g
= gas compressibility, Lt
2
/m, psia 1
C g{ Pi) = gas compressibility evaluated at original reservoir
pressure, Lt 21m, psi I
C
1
= total compressibility, Lt2/m, psia
I
C A shape factor
C
A
•
new
= shape factor for reservoir being analyzed
C
A
•
ref
reference shape factor for well centered in a
circular drainage area (31.62)
D i initial decline rate, t I, day I
G
p
gas produced, L3, Mscf
Gp{tj = cumulative gas production, L3, Mscf
G
r
= recoverable gas to the point where average
reservoir pressure has equalized with the
constant BHFP, L3. MMscf
h = formation thickness, L, ft
k = formation permeability, L2, md
m = slope
p = average reservoir pressure, m/Lt2, psia
Pi initial reservoir pressure, m/Lt
2
, psia
Pp(Pi) = pseudopressure evaluated at initial reservoir
pressure, psia
2
/ cp
GAS RESERVOIR ENGINEERING
TABLE 9.15PRODUCTION DATA FOR EXERCISE 9.9
Gas Flow Cumulative
Time Rate Production
(days) (MscflD) (MMscf)
9.3600 2.3828 x 10
3
1.1152 x 10
4
3.1570x 10' 2.3398 x 10
3
6.3596 x 10
4
5.8120 x 10' 1.7553 x 10
3
1.1796xl0
5
8.9970 x 10
1
1.8322 x 10
3
1.7509 X 10
5
1.1902x 10
2
1.5426 x 10
3
2.2411 X 105
1.4851 X 10
2
1.5806 X 10
3
2.7016x 105
1.6735 x 10
2
1.5557x 10
3
2.9970 x 105
2.0637 x 10
2
1.6765 x 10
3
3.6276 x 105
2.3026 x 10
2
1.3860 X 10
3
3.9935 x 10
5
2.6095 x 10
2
1.3642x 10
3
4.4155 x 105
2.8752 x 10
2
1.2979 x 10
3
4.7691 X 105
3.1507 X 10
2
1.2073x 10
3
5.1142x 105
3.4902 x 10
2
1.1948x 10
3
5.5220 x 105
3.7568 x 10
2
1.2296 x 10
3
5.8452 x 105
4.0699 x 10
2
1.1566xl03 6.2187x 105
4.2866 x 10
2
1.0575 x 10
3
6.4586 x 105
4.6685 x 10
2
1.0405 x 10
3
6.8592 x 10
5
5.0228 x 10
2
1.1328 x 10
3
7.2442 x 105
5.5418x 10
2
9.1560 x 10
2
7.7758 x 10
5
6.3506 x 10
2
9.2700 x 10
2
8.5209 x 105
6.8914x10
2
7.1210 X 10
2
8.9641 X 105
7.2847 X 10
2
8.3400 x 10
2
9.2682 x 105
7.5919 x 10
2
6.9290 x 10
2
9.5027 x 10
5
7.8924 x 10
2
7.7570 x 10
2
9.7234 x 105
8.6526 x 10
2
6.8210xl0
2
1.0277xl0
6
9.6914 X 10
2
7.0220 x 10
2
1.0996 x 10
6
1.0497x 10
3
6.7930 x 10
2
1.1553x 10
6
1.0565 x 10
3
6.1400x 10
2
1.1597 x 10
6
1.1445 x 10
3
5.8080 x 10
2
1.2123x 10
6
1.2761 x 10
3
5.1940 X 10
2
1.2847 x 10
6
1.3673 x 10
3
4.6970 x 10
2
1.3298 x 10
6
1.4530 X 10
3
5.7540 x 10
2
1.3745 x 10
6
1.5599 X 10
3
4.1080x 10
2
1.4272 x 10
6
1.6625 X 10
3
3.5310x 10
2
1.4665 x 10
6
1.7999x 10
3
3.5940 x 10
2
1.5154 x 10
6
1.8923xl0
3
4.0920 x 10
2
1.5509 x 10
6
2.1109 x 10
3
3.4600 x 10
2
1.6334 x 10
6
2.1527x 10
3
2.5400 x 10
2
1.6460x 10
6
2.3312 x 10
3
2.4990 x 10
2
1.6910 x 10
6
2.4654 X 10
3
2.7660 x 10
2
1.7263 x 10
6
2.4982 X 10
3
2.2090 x 10
2
1.7345 x 10
6
2.5832 x 10
3
2.3910x 10
2
1.7540 x 10
6
2.6923 x 10
3
1.9640 x 10
2
1.7778 x 10
6
2.8189 x 10
3
1.8470 X 10
2
1.8019 X 10
6
2.9301 X 10
3
2.1030 X 10
2
1.8238 x 10
6
3.1042x10
3
1.8910xl0
2
1.8586x 10
6
Pp(P"f) pseudopressure evaluated at constant BHFP, psia
2
/cp
Psc = pressure at standard conditions, m/Lt2, psia
P"f = bottomhole flowing pressure, m/Lt2, psia
q(t) == gas flow rate at time t, L3/t, MscflD
qD = dimensionless rate for Carter type curve
qDd = dimensionless decline rate for Fetkovich type curve
qi = initial surface gas flow rate at 1=0, L
3
/t, MscflD
QDd = dimensionless cumulative production
re = drainage radius, L, ft
r w wellbore radius, L, ft
rwa = apparent wellbore radius, L, ft
R = ratio of drainage radius to apparent well bore radius
5 = skin factor
t = time, t, days
tD = dimensionless time for Carter type curve
tDd = dimensionless decline time for Fetkovich type curve
T = bottomhole temperature, T, OR
Tsc = temperature at standard conditions, T, OR (5200R)
Vp = reservoir volume drained by well at beginning of
pseudosteadystate flow, L3, ft
3
z = gas z factor
at = firstorder coefficient derived from series
expansion of dimensionless flow rate in terms of
firstorder Bessel functions
DECLINECURVE ANALYSIS FOR GAS WELLS
1/ = transientflowperiod correlation parameter for
Carter type curve
A = boundarydominatedflowperiod correlation
parameter for Carter type curve
/L
g
== gas viscosity, miLt, cp
/Lg{ Pi) == gas viscosity evaluated at original reservoir pressure,
mILt, cp
() = fraction of 211" radius defining approximate
equivalent reservoir ring shape
q, == porosity, fraction
Subscripts
i initial
MP = match point
"1 :=; bottomhole flowing
References
I. Arps, J.J.: "Analysis of Decline Curves," Trans. , AIME (1945) 160,
22847.
229
2. Campbell, 1.M.: Petroleum Reservoir Property Evaluation, Campbell
Petroleum Series, Nonnan (1973).
3. Thompson, R.S. and Wright, J.D.: Oil Property Evaluation, Thompson
Wright Assocs., Golden, CO (1984).
4. Fetkovich, M.J.: "Decline Curve Analysis Using Type Curves," JPT
(June 1980) 106577.
5. Carter, R.D.· "Type Curves for Finite Radial and Linear GasFlow
Systems: ConstantTerminal Pressure Case," SPEf (Oct. 1985) 71928.
6. Fetkovich, M.l. et al.: "DeclineCurve Analysis Using Type Curves
Case Histories," SPEFE (Dec. 1987) 63756; Trans., AIME, 283.
7. AIHussainy, R., Ramey, H.J. Jr., and Crawford, P.B.: "The Flow
of Real Gases Through Porous Media," JPT (May 1966) 62436;
Trans., AIME, 237.
8. Fetkovich, M.J. and Vienot, M.H.: "Shape Factor, C
A
, Expressed as
Skin, $01," JPT(Feb. 1985) 32122.
9. Smith, R.V.: Practical Natural Gas Engineering, PennWell Publish
ing Co., Tulsa, OK (1983).
10. Fraim, M.L. and Wattenbarger, R.A.: "Gas Reservoir DeclineCurve
Analysis Using Type Curves With Real Gas Pseudopressure and Nor
malized Time," SPEFE (Dec. 1987) 67182.
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