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# Effect of Vertical Fractures on Reservoir BehaviorCompressible-Fluid Case

M.PRATS
MEMBER A/ME

P. HAZEBROEK
W. R. STRICKLER

ABSTRACT

The pressure and production behavior of a homo• geneous cylindrical reservoir producing a single
fl.ui~ through a centrally located vertical fracture of
lzmzted lateral extent was determined by using
mathematical methods to solve the appropriate
differential equation. It is assumed that there is
no pressure drop within the fracture - that is, that
the fracture capacity is infinite. It was found that
the production-rate decline of such a reservoir is
constant (except for very early times) when the
flowing bottom-hole pressure remains constant.
The production-rate decline increases as the fracture length increases. Thus, the lateral extent of
fractures can be determined from the productionrate declines before and after fracturing or from the
decline rate after fracturing when the properties of
the formation and fluids are known.
The production behavior over most of the productive life of such a fractured reservoir can be
represented by an equivalent radial-flow reservoir
of equal volume. The effective well radius of this
equivalent reservoir is equal to one-fourth the total
fracture length (within 7 per cent); the outer radius
of this equivalent reservoir is very nearly equal
(within 3.5 per cent) to that of the drainage radius
of the fractured well.
The effective well radius of a reservoir producing at semisteady state is also very nearly equal
to one-fourth the total fracture length. It thus
appears that the behavior of vertically fractured
reservoirs can be interpreted in terms of simple
radial-flow reservoirs of large wellbore.
INTRODUCTION
An earlier report 1 has considered the effect of
a vertical fracture on a reservoir producing an
incompressible fluid. That investigation of the
fractured reservoir producing an incompressible
Original manuscript received in Society of Petroleum
Engineers office Aug. 7, 1961. Revised manuscript received
Feb. 5, 1962. Paper presented at 36th Annual Fall Meeting of
SPE, Oct. 8-11, 1961, in Dallas.
1References given at end of paper.
JUNE, 1962

SPE 98

SHELL DEVELOPMENT CO.
HOUSTON, TEX.

fluid was started because of its simplicity. Thus,
pertinent behavior of fractured reservoirs was
obtained at an early date, while experience was
being gained of value in the solution of more complicated fracture problems. One of these more
complicated problems, and the one discussed in
this report, considers the effect of a compressible
fluid (instead of incompressible fluids) on the
production behavior of a fractured reservoir.
In the incompressible-fluid work mentioned, it
was shown that the production rate after fracturing
could be described exactly by an effective well
radius equal to one-fourth the fracture length
whenever the pressure drop in the fracture was
negligible. Because of the simplification in interpretation, it is a matter of much interest to determine whether the production behavior of reservoirs
producing a compressible liquid could be described
in terms of an effective well radius which remains
essentially constant over the producing life of the
field. The details of the mathematical investigation are given in the Appendixes.
IDEALIZA nON AND DESCRIPTION OF
THE FRACTURED SYSTEM
It is assumed that a horizontal oil-producing
layer of constant thickness and of uniform porosity
~nd permeability is bounded above and below by
Impermeable strata. The reservoir has an impermeable circular cylindrical outer boundary of radius
reo The fracture system is represented by a single,
plane, vertical fracture of limited radial extent
bounded by the impermeable matrix above and belo~
the producing layer (reservoir). It is assumed that
there is no pressure drop in the fracture due to
fluid flow. Fig. 1 indicates the general threedimensional geometry of the fractured reservoir
just described. When gravity effects are neglected,
the flow behavior in the reservoir is independent
of the vertical position in the oil sand. Thus, the
flow behavior in the fractured reservoir is described
by the two-dimensional flow behavior in a horizontal
cross-section of the reservoir, such as the one
shown in Fig. 2. Production is due to the expan87

. ' ~ I I . 3 and 4..1).. all but the first term in the series given in Eqs.9 I .y VE"TICAL F"ACTU"E OF LIMITED "ADIAL EXTE . 3._--<-=--....-r___ .. Thus. 1 - SCHEMA TIC DIAGRAM OF FRACTURED SYSTEM..94 . 2k t!.3 "'- '" '\ \ 1\ . Values of a(LD ) are very nearly unity as can be seen from Fig.4 DIMENSIONLESS FRACTURE LENGTH..98 r---. 2 - RESERVOIR CROSS-SECTION. "- .. For moderate values of tD (> 0. .001 . by L The coefficient a (L D ) has been found to be given approximately by • • (6) a (LD) = 0.. . e . .01 . the dimensionless production rate and cumulative production are given.04.97 a -'ltD/a.. are known functions of the relative fracture length LD.I ItI . • • • • • • • a 2.. such a plot would be a straight line of negative slope. .004 .99 . • (1) "-1 and e -'Y"t D • for values of LD between 0.96 o .9 0 .'. fracture and fluid properties by rate of decline • • (2) C" and Y. SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL . FIG.1.. I \... given by Eq.t (3) - 1.9 5 . sion of a single fluid of constant compressibility. it appears that the length of a fracture can be determined from a plot of the logarithm of actual production rate vs real time.. FIG.. respectively. 3 - where a = 2/Yl and a = 2C1 /Yl' For larg«. Further discussion will be limited to values of tD > 0. the cumulative recovery can be expressed in terms of the production by eliminating the exponentials from Eqs.. Thus. 1 and 2 are negligible. .4JI'" ...0005 and 0.035 . T I I I I 1--. This represents the field conditions when the gas flow in the formation is negligible compared with the oil flow.. (5) RESUL TS FOR CONSTANT TERMINAL PRESSURE As developed in Appendix A. The tate of decline of the production rate obtained from such a plot is related to the field.-. I I I ' I " I _--\ I r.988 In L D • CD C"e -'Y"t D.9 3 and • (7) per cycle' where a is a known function of the dimensionless fracture length. times 88 COEFFICIENT a VS DIMENSIONLESS FRACTURE LENGTH.1 . For sufficiently large times. LD FIG. • . " I .00 . . 6.0. .5.9 2 .--1 I .

e -2t D !Ot(r eD ) . The only condition that has been imposed on these quantities is that the drainage area affected by the unfractured well be equal to that affected by the fractured well. 6 and 10 are approximate.~ JUl'"E. . This equivalent reservoir is defined as one which has not been fractured (radial flow prevails) and has well and drainage radii such that its production behavior is similar to that of a fractured reservoir of equal drainage area.1) .258 .266 r:.262 2L / . Further.254 V V / V // .( 10) This condition is required in order that the time scale be the same for both the fractured and the unfractured we 11.EFFECTIVE WELL RADIUS IN TERMS OF FRACTURE LENGTH. an unfractured well having an r ~V value of 3. whereas the value r ~ /2L = 0.v / . .01 (reV) NpcD"" 1 . (9) where 01 (reD) IS gIven approximately by the relation In r . r~V 1 + -14 L2 V . 12 that <. 3 is very nearly unity (see Fig. . 3). given by Eqs. For LV = 0. \$ince Eqs. 4 that /2L = 0.. we find from Fig. It can be shown from Ref. Eqs. It seems reasonable to expect that this similarity will be preserved in the case of production at constant rate. can be compared to those obtained in the absence of the fracture. THE CONSTANT-TERMINAL-RATE CASE We have found that a close similarity in production behavior exists between a fractured reservoir and a suitably-chosen equivalent circularlysymmetric reservoir under the assumption of production at constant well pressure. 2 for the unfractured well. r. (15) FIG.2675. The graphs show that for practical purposes the agreement is excellent even Jor so large a fracture length. 13 and 15 could be combined to give the ratio of the effective well radius to the fracture length.3 2 ~~J 2 = 4L1> (r. a fracture length equal to half the reservoir diameter. q'cV.5. 89 . r ~/2L.13 yr eV . (14) .. we shall discuss the case of the largest fracture considered in this paper. . . . 4 was obtained by the same procedure but with the actual decline factors developed in this paper for the fractured well. 2 that the rate and cumulative production for an unfractured well can be approximated by 1 qeV ==. 10. i. This agreement is illustrated in Figs. the ratio r 'w/2L plotted in Fig. . 3 and 4. 4 . . . .0.4 LO . which means that r'e is very nearly equal to re' As an example. The drainage radius and effective well radius of the unfractured well remain to be determined..25 was found to be valid for all fracture lengths in the incompressible-fluid case (see Ref.0 726 + eV' 0. . 1). . . . especially with respect as can readily be determined by comparing Eqs.2 w eV 1) . .DETERMINATION OF EFFECTIVE WELL RADIUS The approximate production rate and cumulative oil production for the fractured well. This means that the production characteristics of the fractured and unfractured wells are the same for sufficiently large times if we take .( 13) -. Unfortunately. Similar equations. . . 6. the product r:DLV is only slightly less than 2. where qv./ or . 1962 . and in Ref.5.(16) w Thus. .25. .270 3 and 11.. . . the treatment of the constant-terminal-rate case is much more difficult.e. We have already remarked that the coefficient a appearing in Eq.2 (r. and from Eq. .1 .86 should have the same production response as a fractured well having an Lv value of 0. The graph shows that this ratio does not differ much from 0.2 [2L~ r = 3. .86. . 5 and 6.( 12) apply to an equivalent reservoir having a production behavior similar to that of a fractured reservoir. . NpV' and N peV have been plotted against tv. .

2).15 ..35 . 5 0. The effective well radius corresponding to this value of T~D is T'w = 0.5. (20) SOCIETY OF PETROLEl'M E:\"GJ:\"EERS JOIIR:\"AJ..25 .4 " .8 ~ I ~ 2.726) .1)2 which is also valid for large t D (see Ref. to computation.. 7 and 10 to obtain (t-. .. . additional oil and degree of acceleration from the planned penetration of a contemplated frac job. we find that T~D = 3.10 .6 ~ a:: U ::J . (19) and combination of this expression with the relationship between a and L D (Eq.80.273(2L). when the effective fluid and reservoir properties are known.-q~ol (EQUI~ALENTI RESE RVOIR1 1 .035 exp [-1.. . . -A comparison of the rate of decline before and after a frac job also offers the possibility of yielding the fracture penetration without a knowledge of the effective fluid and rock properties.. \ 1.25 3T eD .05 ..p w .a:: ~ to- If) z w ~ . The higher initial production rates after a frac job tend to increase the amount of oil recovery before the limiting production rate is reached.J ::J ::J u ~ 20 .50 '0 FIG.20 . it appears that the effective radius of a fracture is independent of whether the reservoir is producing at a constant rate or at a constant pressure. (/'I If) .012 (In DISCUSSION 90 ..8 I- .5 X (i. however.. the oil is produced earlier..15 o f.. " 2::h [2'D ' [ 3J 4 + L ~ ~ J . should be pointed out that several authors 5-7 have presented methods for applying single-phase results to two-phase (or multi-phase) flow systems.2 .6 0. Eqs.:: o o a:: .30 DIMENSIONLESS TIME SCALE. . rate of decline. (17) 16J4 + L ~ We compare this with the corresponding expression for the reservoir of circular symmetry t-..40 . Results presented in this paper can be used to determine the initial production response... Although results presented here are developed for a single liquid of constant compressibility. DIMENSIONLESS TIME SCALE.50 RA TE HISTORIES OF FRACTURED AND EQUIV ALENT RESERVOIRS. A successful frac job always results in an increase in oil-production rate.J.4 In T' eD eD (T ~b .. It is anticipated that these and similar methods can be applied to the results presented here to extend their range of applicability to reservoirs where both oil and free gas flow simultaneously. Thus. 6) yields the fracture penetration LD 1.w 2. / J1:r--+--k qOI (FRArUREDI RESrVOIRll 00 . '0 FIG.8 Zu O::J Vio ZO . the rate of decline following a frac job can be used to interpret the fracture penetration. . Even when the additional oil recovery is not appreciable. . it .L D][ 4 + ..!Ll!:. use is made of Eqs.35 .2_ 1 ] . a fact often observed in practice. This is in satisfactory agreement with the value T ~D = 3.726) J. These methods essentially represent the multi-phase system as a single-phase system of average or characteristic properties. .J Z Q ~z A~--+---+---~~~--~--~--~---+---+---4 wO . For the longest fracture that we have considered.:: \ 1.86 found in the constant-terminal-pressure case. In this latter case. We take as condition of equivalence that the well pressure in the latter case is equal to the pressure in the fracture in the former case at the same values of t D' Then the cumulative production and ultimate recoveries will be equal in both these cases at the same value of tD' This condition is satisfied when the constant terms in both expressions are equal.4 ~o.t/ cycle) after . not difficult to derive a solution for the pressure drop which is valid for large times. whereas the high rate of decline tends to decrease this recovery.10 .2t + 27Tkh [ D T... LD = 0.45 . 6 and 7 show that the rate of decline of the production rate is higher after a frac job than before.(In TeD (~t/cycle) before 0..40 . In Appendix B it is shown that for large t D the pressure drop at the fracture is given by 6p..30 . 6 CUMULATIVE PRODUCTION OF FRACTURED AND EQUIVALENT RESERVOIRS. It is.\t/ cycle) after before (~t/cycle) TeD - 0.. Conversely..

the difference being less than 3. especially the production behavior. It is shown in Ref. atm q qD qcD Te Tw TeD atm TelTw .. = denote the equivalent radial flow properties of a fractured reserVOlr time. em a = 2/Yl t1p Pi . 204. Cook. in the fractured reservoir satisfies the equation 2 ¢iJC a/:1p k at' 'iJ /:1..1 c see Eq. u. 309. Bureau of Standards Applied Mathematics Labs. Prac. For not too great a fracture length. The Clarendon Press. In the most extreme case that has been considered (a fracture length half the reservoir diameter). the ratio of the major and the minor axes is 1. Jim. 3. W. Computation Lab: Tables Relating to Mathieu Functions. and the radius of exterior boundary is slightly larger than the boundary radius of the fractured reservoir. C. 1 for meaning thickness of formation. 216. Trans. Martin. 1.. 2.. cc/second dimensionless production rate for fractured reservolC dimensionless production rate for circular reservolC drainage radius of reservoir. 1962 RESERVOIR PRODUCING FROM VERTICAL FRACTURE AT CONSTANT PRESSURE As in Ref. AIME (1959) Vol. 1 for meaning = see Eq. H. 190. Trans. Pi = initial reservoir pressure. 49. R.. expressed as a fraction of the total amount of oil recoverable by dropping the formation pressure to Pw reservoir pressure. The well radius of this circular reservoir is onefourth the fracture length within 7 per cent. (1947). et aI. Oxford U. Eng. Douglas.. Pet. Peaceman. seconds 17ktl flcA pore volume JUNE. Jour. C. Prats. The pressure drop t1p. Soc.: "Effect of Vertical Fractures on Reservoir Behavior Incompressible-Fluid Case". M.Pf) Pw bottom-hole flowing pressure.P see Eq. 8. Trans. atm.This method for estimating the fracture penetration from the decline rates before and after a frac job tacitly assumes that the drainage area and pertinent values of the fluid and reservoir properties remaIn unchanged in the presence of the fracture. 4. and Rachford. thus keeping the volume of the reservoir unchanged.: "Calculation of Unsteady-State Gas Flow Within a Square Drainage Area". it is possible to associate with a fractured reservoir a reservoir of circular symmetry having very nearly the same production history. N. APPENDIX A LITe P cumulative oil produced from fractured reservoir. (1951). em of formation. and Hurst. F. = Y (A-I) 91 . W.: "Effects of Gas Saturation on Static Pressure Calculations from Two-Phase Pressure Build-up Curves". A. Trans. McLachlan.13. For fracture lengths no larger than half the reservoir diameter and under the assumptions started in the text.: "Analysis of Pressure Buildup Ctrves". E.1. Press. (june. 186. atm PD Pf pl(Pi . atm production rate. van Everdingen. 1 that this choice of elliptical outer boundary has essentially no effect when the fractured well produces an incompressible fluid. The foci of this ellipse are at the ends of the fracture.: Theory and Application of Mathieu Functions. Jr. W. From this it is inferred that the choice of elliptical outer boundary made here will have essentially no effect on the results. H. the reservoir is approximated by one having an outer boundary of elliptic crosssection. NOMENCLATURE a 2C I/Yl A drainage area oil compressibility. API (1956) 482. cp ¢ = porosity of formation. darcies half the fracture length. em = permeability k L x. N.: "The Application of the Laplace Transformation to Flow Problems in Reservoirs". Columbia U.5 per cent. AIME (1955) Vol. S. 7. 6. em well radius = flowing pressure at fracture face. 10 for meaning fl = viscosity of oil. AIME (1959) Vol. D. we take the area of the ellipse equal to the area of the circle. J. Douglas. The length of the fracture can be determined from the rate of decline of the production rate. Y.. fraction Yn on REFERENCES 1. and Prod. Further. 216.y = rectangular co-ordinates. AIME (1949) Vol.: "Simplified Equations of Flow in GasDrive Reservoirs and the Theoretical Foundation of Multi-Phase Pressure Build-up Analyses". Perrine. 1961) 105. CONCL USIONS The following conclusions applicable to fractured reservoirs producing a compressible liquid can be drawn from the results discussed in this paper. Drill. 305.8 have also shown that the choice of a square or circular drainage boundary has only a small effect on the pressure at the well. expressed as a function of the total amount of oil recoverable by dropping the formation pressure to Pf cumulative oil produced from a circular reservoir. Jr. 5. the ellipse is practically circular. L.

. . we apply the Laplace transformation. and the area is TTL for °.. . . .2~)sPD.I OtlP! 0 t-o d~• . . . ~) y. (A-9) - (a + 2s cosh ~)f (A-20) 2 d g dT)2 + (a + 2s cos 2T))f 0. and Otlp 1" Otlp I G! • 2 sinh ~. (A-lO) which are the equations for Mathieu functions. (A-l7) (A-6) ·° We introduce elliptical co-ordinates t sinh t = L cosh x Y '" L sin T/ • • • • • • • • • (A-7) t 2 sinh te cosh te = TT~ 2 sinh 2 te . . . . . 2 d f d~2 2te . . .2 e ~ . the major and minor axes are L cosh te and L sinh e . hence~ . -at]} . . ~ . A-I8 is satisfied by the expression SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL . 0. If the exterior boundary ellipse corresponds to t = t e. . . IIp D(~. -a PD 7 -a PD ¥ . 3. . The condition of Eq.t]} . ..~ • • . (A -8) q! . .° . . Jo . A-I6 are found by separation of variables. Further. respectively. . . . . . . . . . A-I becomes 2 -a 11P]} + -a~ 2 -a 2 11P]} (COSh ~ ~ Slnh . . .cos ~. .1: 1T =~ L 2 sinh 1". (A-4) at the reservoir boundary. . The dimensionless rate is given by t • 0. T). . which is related to qD by with the conditions 1 IIp D • for s ~ • 0. dl "::L /I -L un r- .. . . it is required to determine the cumulative production N p. at 1T (A-2) IIp • P. . 0. (A-2I) Then Eq. .with the conditions -1 qIJ • ° IIp .. . .. this must be equal to the area of the circular res~rvoir.. A-I6 when According to our assumptions.3) On d~ •• --]} ~ 0 (A-l4) !=o To solve the problems. (A-H) for ~ (A-l2) for ~ .ae.Pf . + 2(cosh ~ .Y f lL -allp _ 2kh . ... (A-l5) The factor 2 sinh 2. . . The Laplace transform satisfies the equation 2 2 .(A-16) . The product f(t)g(T/) satisfies Eq. (A-5) the normal derivative of p being taken along the fracture. . . . .° IIp IJ • dpIJ -~ 92 = 1 ° for t JJ .. . (A-I8) The Laplace transform of qD is cos T/. . It is required to determine the rate of Droduction qp. (A . . s ) In the fracture. /lp* D is symmetrical about the and the T/ axes. ~ -2\$ sinh 2 !. Mathieu functions satisfying the requirement are t or and the conditions of A-2 through A-4 become IIp]} . (A-l3) and The notations used are those of Ref. (A-I9) Particular solutions of Eq. e is introduced in order to simplify the Laplace transform formulas.cos. q]} • 21Tkh (~ . 2~)OtlP]}.

-s)Ce2"(.G2n (. -s) is an even function. . .CT) • C ( ) Ce ~n (. .'CT) + FeY~n('.. (I) ~PD E ~ a2"G2.n O. .'-S) .O') • le2n(C7)Ce~n('. Hence. ..0') Ce 2 .0') . . or .. .(~.i = 2 un... 10 Eq.-s)FeY2"(. ..(0. . (A-23) and FeY~n(O. and JUNE. we obtain . .. 93 . .. (A-26) Ie:l and For computations. (A-29) . A-24 we have to derive the function q D (t D)' Each denominator. (A-28) It is therefore convenient to introduce Gu and (0 . Ie 2" Fey 211 (0.. A-19.(~e. As Ce 2n (~.-s)ce2"(~'-S). where .O') and when Ao(2n) are the coefficients of the cosine expansion of ce2n' Using these relations.(0. .-s) s Ce~. .. .(.. • le:n(CT)Ce~n('.FeY~..CT) G~n (O... ... .'CT) .• (A-30) Then.(0. (A-31) The cumulative production is.. (A-27) : Ce 2 . (A-22) From Eq. G2" (0.'-S) .e. -s) vanishes at ~ = 0.... 1962 .i sinh 2~e. A-l7.. This reference gives the quantities Further. use has been made of Ref.. A-10 written in a different form. • (A-25) CI) ~ a2"G2.0') • G2n (0.'CT) • . . . with Eq. has an infinite number of negative zeros.. -s). which are poles of q-D' According to Heaviside's 'theorem.. 4.-0 1 s The ce 2n are orthogonal functions with properties where Yn.-s)ce2"(~'-s) .CT) e. the required solution is a series. A-26. . "=0 where the a2n are to be determined from the condition of Eq. s = --q. Ce '2n (~..CT From Eq.. If the terms of this double series are rearranged in order of magnitude of the Y'" i' we obtain a single series CI) for m qD(t D) = ~ 11 L Cke -'YletD • .

(B-4) Substituting in Eq.•• (B-5) -7T. .. (A.T]) satisfies the equation 7T%J 2t D sinh 2~e JtD cosh ~ . B-4 and eliminating ge by means of Eq. . (A-33) and tD ~ sinh ~e = 1. (B-3) <P = ~e - (g = 0). . A-10 under the conditions 0 and b 2 cosh 2(~e . (B-10) Substitute 2t D + <P (~. (B-8) <P "' 0 2T))dT]d~ 7T. . (3 cosh ~e .508 = bo + b1~ + + cosh SOLUTION FOR LARGE TIMES FOR THE CONSTANT-TERMINAL-RATE CASE 2~ + cos 2T) .Eq. (B-2) and Especially at the fracture 1. . -1 "' 0 • . . the series Eqs. . . . for T) = .cos 2T) ~e 2 -----=-------' sinh with the following conditions.l)(cosh ~e . . (B-7) . .508 4 qD '" in Eq. . . . A-9. 17 in the text of the paper.L -"" t D C" _e_ _ Q) 1 .1) 4 sinh 4~e . 2~e sinh <p(0. (B-1) -1. approximate values for small time can be obtained from the first terms of the solution for linear flow 0. . . . . . A-26 for the smallest permissible values of t D connects smoothly with the point 0. . . (A-32) Y" "=1 Because of slow convergence.T)) = constant. hence. we·can obtain NPD from Eq. . . A-33. A-26 and A-32 cannot be used for small values of tD' For such times. . 016 ~D . I/J is even and periodic in T] with period for = ~e' ~ TT . . . (B-9) 2 sinh ~ e bo = ge 1 g 2 sinh 2 e + We have to solve Eq. . (A-34) cos The curve qDIiD vs t D calculated from the series given by . . . however. We find that 2tD is the average reservoir pressure and that l/J(g. . A-34. The equation is satisfied by a function of the form . (B-6) 2~e sinh . .. .~) cos 2T) It is easily found that all the conditions are satisfied by the following values for the constants: APPENDIX B C O. . . .2 . . we find Eq. . .35) Hence. for small tD we can obtain qD from Eq. T)) . the flow into the fracture is nearly linear. . A-lO. . . • . Likewise. *** SO(:IETY OF PETROLEUM E:-iGIl\EERS JOURNAL . . .