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An Investigation of Wellbore Storage and Skin Effect in

Unsteady Liquid Flow: I. Analytical Treatment

By: Ram G. Agarwal, Al-Hussainy, & Ramey JR.

There are many factors affecting the development of well-test analysis methods for short-
time data recently, which here is defined as pressure information obtained prior to the usual
straight-line portion of a well-test. Those factors are wellbore storage, skin effects (perforations,
partial penetration, fractures, finite formation thickness, and non-Darcy flow). This paper aims to
present the basic information about the importance of wellbore storage with a skin effect to short-
time transient flow. The term short-time is used to indicate either drawdown or build-up tests
run for a period of time insufficient to reach the usual straight-line portion. But it is rare that those
data tests taken before the traditional straight-line portion are ever used in analysis of oil or gas
well performance.
Here, it is considered that the medium is infinite in extent because the focus is on times
short enough for outer boundary effects not to be felt at the well. The initial condition is constant
pressure (pi) for the radii greater than or equal to rw. The inner boundary will be taken as production
at constant surface rate from the wellbore of finite volume, and be assumed that a steady-state skin
effect exists at the sand face.
The diffusivity equation for fluid flow in terms of dimensionless variables is
The initial and outer boundary conditions are
While the inner boundary condition is
(4) and (5)
With c is defined by van everdingen and hurst :
C represents the volume of wellbore fluid unloaded or stored in cc/atm.
Many studies have been conducted about wellbore storage and skin effect, yet the
connection between various studies has not been obvious. In regard to wellbore storage, it is proven
that it is possible to predict the duration of the initial flow period controlled by storage. During
this time, it is possible to find the storage constant from well-test data but the formation flow
capacity and skin effect cannot be found.
In regard to skin effect, steady-state skin effect concept becomes physically invalid at very
short times. If test data are interpreted properly, it will be necessary to generalize the skin effect
concept to include a damaged region of a finite storage capacity.
In regard to combination effect of skin effect and wellbore storage, most of the duration to
reach the usual straight line is controlled by the wellbore storage. Wellbore storage should control
the initial transients if the well is damaged or has a zero skin. If a well exhibits a negative skin, the
wellbore storage effect wont be prominent because the rate or pressure change in the wellbore
may be quite low.

Pressure Build-up and Flow Tests in Wells

By: Matthews & Russell

*Focus on Mechanical Skin (Alteration in permeability in near-wellbore area resulting from

mechanical factors such as the displacement of debris that plugs the perforations or formation

In many cases, it has been found that the permeability, especially near-wellbore area, can
be affected by mechanical skin factors as a result of drilling fluids, dispersion of clays, partial
well penetration, limited perforation, and plugging of perforations. Since the effect is close to the
well, transients caused by it are of small duration and negligible so that the skin effect can be
taken into account as an additional pressure drop proportional to the rate of production. The zone
of altered permeability is called a skin and the effect is called skin effect.
We define quantitatively the skin factor as a constant which relates the pressure drip in
the skin to the dimensionless rate of flow :
And we find for the well pressure after a production time t :
In the idealized case, the pressure should rise by an amount deltaPskin immediately after
shut-in. In practice, the magnitude of skin effect can be estimated from the difference between
the pressure before shut-in and that shortly after. To calculate the skin factor, it is necessary to
measure the well pressure both before and after closing in. the pressure after closing in is
expressed :
For deltaT small compared with t, we can approximate as 1. Rearranging the equation
and choosing deltaT = 1 hour so that :
We also can calculate skin factor from the relation of each zone and each permeability
Thus, if the permeability in the skin zone is less than that in the rest of the formation, s
will be positive and it is called damaged. If the skin is greater than that in the rest of the
formation, s will be negative and it is called stimulated as from fracturing or acidizing.
Hydraulically fractured wells often show values of s ranging from -3 to -5.