SPE

Sodety of Petroleum enalneers

SPE 23666

Production Impacts on L\P Friction in Horizontal Production Wells
B.W. Brice. BP Exploration. and J.R. Miranda, Corpoven. S.A.
SPE Members
~gllt

1992, Society of Pelfofeum EngintKllS, Inc

This
paper was presenlad at tbe Second latin Amruican I'IIlfofeum E'
. Conference, nWEC, of tile Society of Petroleum Enginll9tS held in Caracas. VsnIlZUllla. Marcb S11. 1992
ngmerenng
This paper was sslsclad for presentation by an SPE Program Commllae foil'
. of . , .
..
as pressntlld, have nOl been revillwed by tlls II tAPEC or tbe SPE and a:-'~= ,~rma!on conlallled 11\ an abstract submittlld by tbe au!llar{s). Contents olille paper
position of tbe II tAPEC or tile SPE. its alfiC9f5, or merrilelS. Papers presented t
on y tile author{s}. The malerial. as presented. does nOl necessarily reflect any
Petroleum Engineers. Pennissian to copy is feslrieled 10 an abstract at no! mor: lila ;:I'":sare subJ9c1 10 pubicaton re\l!~ by Editoria! CommittlillS of tile Sociely of
adlnowlad~lIII!l\t 01 where and by whom Ihs paper is prsssnllld.
n
wo. ililSlrallons may no! be copied. Tile abstract.should contain COllspiQlOUS

spf"

Write Publications Manager. SPE. P.O.80x 833836 Richardson 1)( 7501l3-3836 U.S.A. Telex 730989 SPEOAL

Abstract:
This paper confirms the high AP friction in the production
sect!on of' a horizontal well as proposed by Oikken '.
Available pressure transient data validates his
theoretical pressure drops which are significantly
greater than previously thought
.
Due to short production intervals in most conventional
(relative to horizontal wells) the phenomenon has
minor Impact on the conventional well. It can however
play ~ significant role in the distribution of pr~duction i~
a hOrizontal well and needs to be considered when
running reservoir models to properly evaluate reservoir
performance. Because of the risks and costs associated
with production logging it is not generally detected.
w~lIs

T~is

simu!ation .work. uses pseudo reduced pipe
dIameters In Eel s Eclipse reservoir simulator. They
generate pressure profiles along the horizontal
producing section that match Oikken's 1 pressure
profiles. Eclipse simulator results indicate that friction
loss along the production interval has an impact on
coning performance.
Results. Observations & Conclusions:
1. The increased AP friction loss as predicted by Dikken
has been verified by pressure profile data taken
along the producing horizontal sections of a flowing
well .plus data from a step rate test on a second
horizontal well. Continual inflow of fluid along the
horizontal creates turbulence at lower flow rates
resulting in significantly higher AP friction loss.
2. Typically simulators calculate the AP friction of the·
horizontal section by the same methods used to
calculate AP friction loss from flow through a pipe.
They do not handle th~. AP friction loss correctly in
References and illustrations at end of paper.

239

the horizontal production section and they tend· to
generate more uniform production profiles than
found in the real world.
3. Incorrect pressure profiles yield inaccurate simulator
results which may either be optimistic or pessimistic
depending on the configuration of the well in the
reservoir. Errors in the simulator results are more
common In undamaged reservoirs with higher flow
rates. high permeability. and low viscosity.
4. USing pseudo diameters (reduced from the actual
production liner diameter), existing simulators can
generate a correct pressure profile along the
horizontal well's production interval.
5. Increased simulator accuracy results where the
horizontal wellbore pressure profile correctly
represents the actual conditions. This improves the
accuracy of horizontal prospect evaluations as well
as the analysiS of the performance of existing wells.
6. In water drive reservoirs. the performance of high
angle wells (85°+) can benefit from the phenomenon
of skewing production to the front end of the well.
7. In reservoirs with a gas cap. production skewing to
the front end of the horizontal can be detrimental to
the performance. However, in this environment the
inverted high angle well (the beginning of' the
production section deeper in the reservoir and the
end structurally higher) takes advantage of the
production skewing phenomenon.
8. The completion design {well type (high angle,
horizontal. inverted high angle); liner diameter; and
perforation length1 has a significant impact on well
performance.

2

THE PRODUCTION IMPACTS OF ~P FRICTION
IN HORIZONTAL PRODUCTION WELLS

Applications;
Without a correct AP profile the simulator's match of
production data does not represent the production
distribution from the reservoir. Correct AP friction loss is
important in evaluating the performance of new and
existing horizontal wells. It is affected by:
1. the size of the production liner,
2. the length of the perforated interval, and
3. the placement of the well in the reservoir (i.e.
horizontal, high angle, or inverted high angle). The
placement is particularly important when gas or
water coning are present.
These factors all affect the AP friction and how the fluids
enter the wellbore. Only when these parameters are
correct, is It possible to:
1. evaluate various horizontal well deigns,
2. accurately predict the performance of a horizontal
well prospect, and
3. properly analyze the performance of existing
horizontal wells.

SPE 23666

The Step Rate Test data on horizontal well "8" is
presented in Figure 2. It includes the match of the real
data to Model 1's prediction as well as the theoretical
Vogle 2 effect on the PI. Note that the observed
decrease in PI is significantly greater than can be
accounted for by Vogle alone. The Step Rate Test data
records the flowing pressure at the beginning of the
horizontal. An increase in flow rate generates a larger
AP friction resulting in an apparent decrease in PI.
Impact of Dlkken
The friction loss predicted by Dikken 1 can be an order of
magnitude greater than the loss predicted by the AP
friction calculations of Eclipse3 ; The pressure profiles of
the two methods of calculation are shown in Figure 3.
The same well parameters were used: 12340 BOPD
[1962 m 3 ]; 1500 foot [457 m] horizontal well; liner
diameter 4 1/2" [11,4 cm]; AP of 1330 PSI [9170 kPa) at
the beginning Of the horizontal. The Case A profile, is
the Dikken AP friction. It predicts the drawdown at the
end of the horizontal to be only 650 PSI [4482 kPa] or a
AP friction loss of 680 PSI [4688 kPa). Case B is based
on the formula in Eclipse and uses exactly the same
data as Case A. It predicts a ~P of 1270 PSI [8756 kPa]
at the end of the horizontal or a friction loss of only 60
PSI [414 kPa].
Using pseudo diameters to approximate the Dikken
effect, Eclipse simulator results confirm that AP friction is
important in the production performance of a horizontal
well. The following study was for a horizontal well with
the aquifer under only 1/3 of the wellbore. The following
scenarios are exactly the same completion interval only
the wells are drilled from different directions:

Discussion:
Because horizontal wells have a higher PI (productivity
index--oll rate/day/pressure drawdown) than
conventional wells there is a tendency to automatically
assume increased recovery. This may not be the case
even when additional recovery is predicted by a
reservoir simulator. If a simulator does not properly
account for the AP friction it may either overstate or
understate the recovery depending on the )yells position
in the reservoir relative to the coning fluid contacts.

Well
Type

Beginning
End
MMBO
MMBW
Horizontal Horizontal [MM m 3 ) [MM m 3 )

High
No AquHer
Angle

Dikken 1 presents a theory of large AP friction loss along
a horizontal producing well. His friction losses are an
order of magnitude larger than predicted by
conventional methods.

Inverted
High
Aquifer
Angle

Validation of Dlkken
Pressure profile data taken on real wells was used to
validate Dikken's theory. Figure 1 is a horizontal
produCing section pressure profile and Figure 2 is Step
Rate Test data on a second horizontal well. Both
validate Dikken's theory of AP friction.

Vears

Aquifer

23.4
(3.7)

63.1
(10.0)

21

No AquHer

23,4
(3.7)

75.8
(12,1)

21

0,0
[0,0)

12,7
(2,1 J

The 20% increase in water production for the inverted
case demonstrates that the Dikken AP friction does effect
the water cone and the resulting well performance
(Figure 4), For both cases the drawdown at the
beginning of the horizontal well was 600 PSI [4137 kPa].
The only difference was that for high angle case the
aquifer is at the end of the horizontal section while in the
inverted case it is at the beginning.

Figure 1 is the actual flowing pressure profile of a
inverted high angle well -A-. It is not exactly 90 0 • Its
flowing pressure profile is corrected to the true vertical
depth by the directional survey and it is compared to the
static oil gradient. The 720 foot [219 m] production
section is 96 0 (incline 6 0 ) with the beginning of the
-horizontal- section (BHS) 78 feet [24 m] deeper than the
end of the horizontal section (EHS). Without friction
loss, the flowing pressure P.tofile should parallel the
static gradient. In this well the AP friction of 35 PSI [241
kPa] agrees with Dikken's calculations of pressure loss.

Pseudo Diameters to Produce Dikken ~P
Profiles
The ~P friction as proposed by Dikken is a new concept.
Simulators which do not include it can be "tricked" into
calculating an equivalent pressure profile by using
smaller pseudo diameters. The results are a truer
representation of the reservoir performance. Figure 5
compares an Eel Eclipse pressure profile which was
generated by a pseudo diameter to a Dikken pressure
profile for the same conditions.
240

SPE 23666

BRADLEY BRICE; JOSE MIRANDA; ARMANDO HERRERA

In order to determine the correct pseudo diameter to be
used in the simulator, two models have been
constructed. Model 1 calculates the horizontal well
flowing pressure profile for the given reservoir
parameters based on Dikken's equations for t,p friction
loss. Model 2 uses the toP friction calculations included
in ECl's Eclipse. Since the toP friction is a function of
the diameter it is possible to alter the pressure profile by
changing the liner diameter. By reducing the diameter
in Model 2, a pressure profile match to Model 1 (Oikken
pressure profile) can be generated. This pseudo
reduced diameter is then used in Eclipse to perform
reservoir studies. Both Models 1 and 2 divide the
horizontal production section into 20 segments and both
calculate each segment's inflow using the radial flow
equation with the segment's average toP. For studies by
simulators other than Eclipse, Model 2 must be replaced
with a new model incorporating the simulator's method
for calculating toP friction loss.
Using the Model for Screening
Using Model 1 it is possible to evaluate the impact of
various parameters on the horizontal well's
performance. This has the potential of saving the time
and cost involved in multiple simulator runs.
Figures 6 and 7 are toP Orawdown and "Skew" (shift
from uniform inflow) profiles generated by Model 1 from
real Step Rate Test data taken on Example Well "B".
Figure 6 shows the t,p profile along the horizontal for
two flow rates. Because of increased toP with rate,
higher flow rates have much less uniform toP than lower
flow rates This will tend to shift the production to the
front of the horizontal section. A measure of the degree
of the production shift is "skew" which is a dimensionless
AP along the wellbore, with the tail end of the well being
unity. It reflects the non-uniformity of the inflow resulting
from the AP friction. Note on Figure 7 that for lower flow
rates the skew is much less and the well inflow is much
more uniform.
Parameters Studied
Non-uniform pressure drawdown along the horizontal is
especially true with high permeability reservoirs
producing at high rates with low drawdown.
Using the ECl's Eclipse simulator with pseudo
diameters to generate the correct pressure profiles, a
reservoir with bottom water was studied. The results
indicate:
1. Smaller production liners in a high angle well retard
the influx of the water cone regardless if the well is
producing 2000 BOPO [318 m 3] or 20000 BOPO
[3180 m3] (Figure 8). Without acc?unting for ~he t,p
friction correctly the simulator WIll not predIct the
correct water cut performance.
2. The 7" [17,8 cm] liner vs. 41/2" [11,4 cm] Ii~er permits
accelerated recovery (Figure 9). After eIght years,
the reservoir will have recovered 9 MMBO [1,4 MM
m3] with 4 112" [11,4 cm] nher, and over 10,5 MMBO
[1,7 MM m3] if a 7" [17,8 cm] liner is used.
These results illustrate the importance of t,p friction in
the long term performance of a horizontal well.

Design of the Horizontal Completion
The impact of the pressure drop along the horizontal
well due to friction has generally been ignored or treated
as the friction drop in the tubing. Oikken' notes that
"turbulent flow in horizontal wells may occur at rates of
thousands of cubic feet per day [for 9 5/8 in. (24,4 cm)
cased wells]." This increased turbulence and resulting
increased AP friction is probably caused by the fluid
inflow along the horizontal production section. Also,
multi~phase flow complicates the calculations for t,p
friction loss.
Severe skewing will either aggravate or retard early
water or gas coning depending on the relative position
of the influx fluid to the horizontal production section. A
truly horizontal well in a reservoir which is vertically
homogeneous will tend to cone (either water or gas) at
the beginning of the horizontal production interval. In an
oil well where gas coning is a concern, an inverted high
angle well will retard the coning. Where water coning is
a concern, a high angle well will retard the coning. If a
simulator does not properly address AP friction, the
shape of the cone and the well's productive history will
be incorr& ..:t.
Near-wellbore damage increases the AP required for a
well to produce a given rate. This tends to reduce the
skew and results in a more uniform production profile.
Though damage is not desirable, when it is present in
horizontal well the Oikken t,P friction loss is reduced.
Three uncontrollable factors which increase t,p friction
and the associated skewing are:

high reservoir permeability,
high Kv/Kh [ratio of Permeability (Vertical) to
Permeability (Horizontal)],
low viscosity.

Prior to completion, two parameters can be altered to
minimize the impact of skewing:

complete with larger diameter production liner,
shorten the completion interval.

After a well is completed and skeWing is determined to
be a problem, rate restriction is the only option available
to reduce the effect. This may not be acceptable
because of the impact on cash flow.
The friction pressure phenomenon significantly effects
every production related aspect of the horizontal well:
rate, recovery, completion liner selection, perforating
strategy, and ultimately the project justification.
Maximum rate and recovery. Typically after a
horizontal well is drilled there IS a desire to take
advantage of the well's rate potential. Increasing the
production may Significantly improve the immediate
rate and cash flow. However, it may have serious
adverse effects upon the ultimate recovery. This is
especially true if gas or water coning occurs. Only if
the simulator handles the t,p friction properly. can the
true implications of increased rate on recovery be
evaluated.

3

THE PRODUCTION IMPACTS OF .1P FRICTION
IN HORIZONTAL PRODUCTION WEllS

4

Liner size.
The pressure drop and thus the
distribution of production along the horizontal is
directly affected by the liner size. Without a correct
understanding of the pressure profile, the impact of
the liner size cannot be properly evaluated.
Perforating strategy. Is it appropriate to drill a 1500
foot horizontal section and perforate the entire
section? Or is it better to perforate only a fraction (Le.
500 feet) of the wellbore and then recomplete at a
later date? These are questions that generally are
not evaluated in the performance of a horizontal well.
The perforating strategy will affect the skewing in the
production interval which will impact the ultimate
recovery.
The project justification. All of these factors play a
significant role in the ultimate justification of a
horizontal well project. The impacts of each factor
should be evaluated to choose the optimal
completion design.

Recommendations;
1. Build two simple radial flow models for horizontal
wells. Model 1 would calculate the AP friction for a
horizontal production interval with the Dikken
equations. Model 2 would calculate the AP friction by
the same method as the simulator which will be used
for reservoir studies. (If the simulator modifications
include Dikken .1P friction calculations, then perform
the reservoir studies outlined in Recommendation #3
and no Models need to be built.)
2. Determine the ·pseudo· production diameter
required by Model 2 to match the .1P friction profile of
Model 1. The Model 1 profile is generated for
production parameters identical to those which will
be used in the simulation.
3. Use the "pseudo" diameter (or the Dikken AP friction
option, if available) in the simulator to study the
following:
• Completion diameter. Design the completion in
such a manner as to either utilize or minimize the
impacts of the skewing of production to the front
end of the well.
• Completion length. Evaluate the effect of varying
the completion length on the well's performance.
• Partial completion. By completing only a portion of
the horizontal section the skew can be reduced
resulting in a more uniform production .profile.
Additional perforations or recompletion would be
possible when the production rate becomes
unsatisfactory. This option may have merit in
cases of severe skewing.
• Rate restriction. Restrict the rate to generate a
more uniform pressure drawdown, less skew, and
improved recovery.

SPE 23666

Formulas for AP Friction:
The following Dikken formulas 1 to calculate the pressure
drop in a horizontal well are included in Model 1:
[ilJ:>w(@ x)ldx] -

Rw (Qw(@x)j(2-a)

..................( 1)

Rw - 0.316 [(7t J.L d )/(4 p)]'1(8 p)/(n2 d5] ··················(2)
The following formulas 3 used in Model 2 are used in
ECl's Eclipse simulator. The constants have been
modified to to calculate the .1P friction loss at Palmeter:
Re(@ x} - [1.27354 p (qw(@x»]I(d J.L)
f(@ x) .[-3,6 log1O[

(6,9/R~(@x»+«e/d}/3,7)(t0/9)] F


[~(@

······ .. ··········(3)

········ .. ········(4)

x)/()x] • (3,243 f P (q)2) /(d 5)

.. ··· .. · ...... ····(5)

Models 1 and 2 used these formulas to calculate the .1P
friction by section; the radial flow equation was used to
calculate the inflow.

Nomenclature:
d
inner diameter of liner (open to flow), m.
aid
wellbore roughness (dimensionless).
Pw pressure at position (x) along horizontal well,
Pa.
qw
well rate at position (x) along horizontal
wellbore, m3/s.
Aw flow resistivity inside horizontal well (Dikken).
Re
Reynolds Number (Eclipse).
a
parameter in description of turbulent flow (a ..
o rough inner surface; a - 0,25 smooth inner
surface) Dikken.
J.L
(dynamic) viscosity, Pa·s.
p
den&ity, kg/m 3 .
References;
1.
Dikken, Ben J.: "Pressure Drop in Horizontal
Wells and Its Effect on Production Performance,"
JPT (November 1990) 1426-1433.
2.

Vogle, J. V.: ·'nflow Performance Relationships for
Solution-Gas Drive Wells." JPT (January 1968)
83-92.

3.

Intera ECl Petroleum Technologies, Eclipse 200
Reference Manual Supplements (Release 91 A)
Pages 1.1-1.2 Wellbore Friction Option.

23666

SPE

.•

-8880

.c::

ii
QI

0

m
u

tQI

>
QI
:::s
....

-8900
-8920

16

iii (EHS)

c:

ena.-

-

-QI

.E

-a. a.

-8940 - ' 0 - - -

-0

c:

-8960

"u
-:::s---

I-

-

...0

'-a. -

-9000
3250

12

---

10

'----

Modell Match

0

m

"tJ

-8980

14

8

3450

3400

3350

3300

0

5000

PSI
FIGURE 1: Flowing pressure prollle (convened to True Venlcel Depth) of Inverted _
high angle well "A", The reservoir pressure drawdown profile (along the wellbore) IS
AP

1400

e-n

-::
a.
c:

~

1200

::tV

...
0

600

-

400

90~-----r-----.-----.------r---~
I
i
I

"-

70

200

.__ ."-

~
V
CASE A

..

~

---- .

...

..-

~-

......

404----~----~----

.... "" ......,......

30+------r-----t
20,_ _ _

-I'

= 12340 SOPDl
~P = 1330 PSI
J
Q

1000

10 ...__._...._ ...._. __.. -.....~ .-........... -.,

o

1500

o

Wellbore Length (Feet)

5

o

Dikken Profile
Eclipse (Pseudo Diameter)

400

e:-

300

<l

200

a.

100

o

0

0
0

500

15

20

25

FIGURE 4: Simulator results showing the Impacl of Dikken's correlation on water
coning performance, Exactly the same completion interv.ls, rales and drawdown
bu1 the wells are drilled from different surtace locations_ The aquiter at end 01 the
high angle well and at the beginning 01 the Invened high angle well_

600
500

10

MMSO

FIGURE 3: Comparison of c.P frIction calculated by Dlkken's equations and by
the equetlons In ECl's EClipse simulator,

en

I

-/---

60 - l - - - - - t t -

..

'" 0
500

; ,
,
!

50
-..

~".

o

---'+---'---r-=j~ _,

80

CASES
(Eclipse ~P Friction -"
Loss = 60 PSI)

(Dikken 6P Friction -Loss = 680 PSI)
...... -.
..----. -..

a.

<l

............ •..•.........

"-

800

15000

FIGURE 2: Measured Productivity Indexes (PI) from Step Rate Tests on horizontal
well "8" and theoretical profile besed on Vogle alone. Measured pressures were
taken from. gauge .t the beginning of the horizontal production Interval.

~

~

1000

0

"tJ

..........

Rate 10000
(SOPO)

1000

1500

2000

Length (Feet)
FIGURE 5: Comparison 01 c.P pressure prolUes along a horizontal well.
One profile Is generated from Dikken's theory and the other by Eclipse
using the same well and reservoir parameters and a "pseudO diameter",

243

23666

SPE

-en

-c;::
Q.

o

1000 +-_..::!IiII~

__

!-1- - - - -

--t---

1,4-1----~

400

3:

200

1·°t----i9===:::::;;;~-+_---...J
O,6j--~~~:;£J

0,4;------+------1----0,2+---O,O+--~--_ _ + _ _ - - - _ l _ - - - _ _ _ l
o
1500
500
1000

F--=.::::..=-~-=--=----"""----~---+------l
1000

1500

Well bore Length (Feet)

Well bore Length (Feet)
FIGURE 6: The affecl of prOduction rale on the t.P drawdown pressure profile 01 a
horizontal well as determined by ·'Modell". The celculations represent Oikken's
theory and are based on Ihe real "Step Rate Tesr' data Irom h"'!zontal well "8".

8000

-m:5:
-

6000

t il
G)

FIGURE 7: The effecl 01 production rale on "Skew" in a horizontal well as
determined by "Model'". The calculations represent Oikken's theory and are
based on raal "Step Rate Test" data trom horizontal well "8".

12000

-

7000

0
m
:E

10000

-

8000 ...- --.. -

4000

:;::

6000

3000

~

"0
0
~

2000

Q.

E

1000

~

Q)

:5:
>

5000

c:
0

u

:::J

0

.

E
:::J

.-- t
I

.....

:::J

:;::
:::J

__-

0,8 'j--;=:=:i.=:l:=:-

a = 3460 iSOPO
t.P = 257 PSI - -

500

:E

I

800

E

<l

---

1,2-"",,_ __

600 --------.- --1------ ..-

Q.

2,0
1,8
1,6 -f---"'IIIoJe"

----1---------

"0

o

2 , 2 - , : : - - - - - - , - -_ _ _--r_ _ _ _~

1400 r---;:==+===~II----~
1200
a = 1~340 SOPO
I
+-'Wt:=-!=_t._P_=_13;-3_0_P_S_I_---I-

I

4000

.1

2000

\ -\

0

0

0

a

3000

6000

9000

12000

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

Years

Cumulative Oil (MBa)
FIGURE 8: Impact of completion liner size on water coning In a hiorizontal welt.
The Eclipse simulator results are determined using "pseudo diameters" to
represent the Olkken 6P !rlction loss,

244

FIGURE 9: Impact of completion liner size on acceleration 01 011 production Irom
a horizontal _II. The Eclipse Simulator results are determined using "pseudo
diameters" to represent Ihe Dlkken t.P friction loss.