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Chapter 1


1.1 Introduction
Material balance is the application of the law of conservation of mass to oil and gas
reservoirs and aquifers. It is based on the premise that reservoir space voided by
production is immediately and completely filled by the expansion of remaining fluids and
rock. As demonstrated later in this chapter, material balance is a useful engineering
method for understanding a reservoir's past performance and predicting its future

To understand and analyze gas reservoirs, the following conditions will be applied.
1. Reservoir hydrocarbon fluids are in phase equilibrium at all times, and
equilibrium is achieved instantaneously after any pressure change;
2. The reservoir can be represented by a single, weighted pressure average at any
time (Pressure gradients in the reservoir cannot be considered by the method.)
3. Fluid saturations are uniform throughout the reservoir at any time (Saturation
gradients cannot be handled.)
4. Conventional PVT relationships for normal gas are applicable and are sufficient to
describe fluid phase behavior in the reservoir.

Material balance calculations can be used to:

1. Determine original oil and gas in place in the reservoir;

2. Determine original water in place in the aquifer;
3. Estimate expected oil and gas recoveries as a function of pressure decline in a
closed reservoir producing by depletion drive, or as a function of water influx
in a water-drive reservoir;
4. Predict future behavior of a reservoir (production rates, pressure decline,
and water influx);
5. Verify volumetric estimates of original fluids in place;
6. Verify future production rates and recoveries predicted by decline-curve analysis;
7. Determine which primary producing drive mechanisms are responsible for a
reservoir's observed behavior, and quantify the relative importance of each
8. Evaluate the effectiveness of a water drive;
9. Study the interference of fields sharing a common aquifer.

Data requirements to accurately apply the material balance method consists of: (1)
cumulative fluid production at several times (cumulative oil, gas, and water); (2) average
reservoir pressures at the same times, averaged accurately over the entire reservoir; (3)
fluid PVT data at each reservoir pressure as well as formation compressibility.

1.2 Basic concepts
The general material-balance equation for a depletion-drive gas reservoir, neglecting
water and formation compressibilities is expressed by:
p p  G 
 i 1  p 
z zi  G 
 

It is one of the most often used relationships in gas reservoir engineering. It is usually
valid enough to provide excellent estimates of original gas-in-place based on observed
production, pressure, and PVT data.

During the life of a gas reservoir, cumulative production is recorded, and average
reservoir pressures are periodically measured. At each measured reservoir pressure the
gas z-factor is determined to calculate P/z, and the result plotted as shown in Figure 1.1
below. Notice that Equation 1.1 results in a linear relationship between P/z and G p. That
is, as gas is produced from the reservoir, the ratio P/z should decline linearly for a
volumetric reservoir. Note that for an ideal gas, pressure alone would decline linearly.

Last measured
3000 data point

p/z, psia


(p/z) a
Gpa=8.5 Bscf G=10 Bscf
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Cumulative gas produced,Bscf

Figure 1.1 Example of linear relationship between p/z and gas produced for a volumetric

Example 1.1
Determine the original gas-in-place and ultimate recovery at an abandonment pressure of
500 psia for the following reservoir.

Gas specific gravity = 0.70
Reservoir temperature = 150F
Original reservoir pressure = 3000 psia
Abandonment reservoir pressure = 500 psia
Production and pressure history as shown in the following table.

Gp, mmscf P, psia z, p/z, psia

0 3000 0.822 3650
580 2800 0.816 3431
1390 2550 0.810 3148
3040 2070 0.815 2540

1) Determine z-factor and calculate P/z.
2) Plot P/z versus GP. (Example shown in Fig. 1.1)
3) Draw a straight line through the data points.
4) Extrapolate the straight line to p/z = 0, where Gp must equal G, the OGIP.
From Figure 1.1 G = 10.0 Bscf.
5) Ultimate recovery is estimated from an abandonment pressure of 500 psia
and z = 0.945, thus (p/z)a = 529 psia. From Fiqure 1.1, the ultimate
recovery is estimated to be 8.5 Bscf, or 85% of the OGIP.

In the example, the data points formed a easily-recognizable straight 1ine, but in practice
this may not always be the case. Theoretically, there should be a linear relationship
between p/z and G. However, in practice there are several factors that may cause the
relationship to be nonlinear. Formation compressibility may be significant, as in an
unconsolidated sand reservoir. If this extra stored energy is not accounted for, the
measured data points will be extrapolated to an optimistically high value of OGIP. In the
example, if the reservoir actually had an OGIP of 10.0 Bscf, but the formation was
unconsolidated and had significant compressibility, the three measured reservoir
pressures after production had begun would have been greater, and extrapolation to OGIP
would have exceeded 10.0 Bscf. Secondly, average reservoir pressure may not have been
accurately determined. This is a common problem, and the plot of p/z versus G p
frequently shows more fluctuations from a straight line than in Figure 1.1. Finally, if a
water drive were acting on the gas reservoir, pressure support would occur and the plot of
p/z versus Gp would give an overly optimistic OGIP.

In this example the recovery factor was estimated simply by the ratio of ultimate recovery
to the original gas-in-place. Alternatively, it is possible to estimate ultimate recovery
efficiency (RE) in a depletion-drive gas reservoir with negligible water and formation
compressibilities by:

 B gi   
RFvol  1    1  p a zi 
 B ga   z a pi  (1.2)
  

where the gas formation volume factor is defined as:
P zT
Bg  sc (1.3)
Tsc P

For the example, ultimate recovery efficiency can be estimated from Equation (1.2),
 529 
RFvol  1    85% of OGIP
 3650 

The decision on selection of an appropriate abandonment pressure is dependent on

operational considerations, reservoir variables and economics. In general, the higher the
reservoir permeability the lower the abandonment pressure. However, in tight gas sands,
where permeability is in the milli- to microdarcy range, abandonment pressures are being
reduced by a variety of methods targeting bottomhole flowing pressure. These methods
can be on the surface, such as adding compression, or in the wellbore, such as adding
plunger lift or capillary tubes. The added benefit can be quite substantial. For instance,
in the previous example if the abandonment pressure could be reduced in half, the
incremental gain in recovery would be approximately 1 Bscf.

1.3 Advanced Topics

The previous section provides the basic concepts in material balance for simple,
volumetric gas reservoirs. However, nonlinearity can occur in the p/z vs G p relationship
as a result of water influx, or changes in rock and water compressibilities in geopressured
reservoirs, or the inability to achieve average reservoir pressure such as in low
permeability reservoirs.

A comprehensive form of the gas material balance equation is given by:

p  
1  c ( p  p)  
z  e( p ) i 


 p / zi  5.615  
 (1.4)
    pG  G  W R   W B
 p w  W B  W 
 z i G inj p sw B  inj w e  
 g 

where Ginj and Winj are gas and water injection, respectively; Rsw is solution gas in the
water phase, and ce(p) is an average effective compressibility term. From this general
material balance equation we will investigate the affects of water influx, rock/water
compressibilities and low-permeability systems.

1.3.1 Water-drive Gas Reservoir

The impact of water influx is to provide pressure support, resulting in slower pressure
decline. Subsequently, gas reservoirs associated with aquifers show a flattening of the
p/z curve. Figure 1.2 shows p/z curves for gas reservoirs with varying strengths of aquifer
support. In all cases, linear extrapolation of the water-drive cases to determine OGIP
would lead to optimistically high values.


water drive


Depletion drive

Figure 1.2 Water Drive Gas Reservoir p/z Curve

The rate of the gas withdrawal is directly proportional to the ability of water to encroach.
For example, a high withdrawal rate coupled with a strong aquifer could lead to early
coning and/or pockets of trapped gas. Agarwal, et. al, in 1965 attributed the low gas
recovery in water drive reservoirs to the trapped residual gas saturation and a volumetric
displacement efficiency less than unity. They showed that the size and properties of the
aquifer and the withdrawal rates, along with residual gas saturation and volumetric sweep
efficiency impact the ultimate gas recovery and thus are major factors in designing field
development strategy.

When water invades a gas reservoir, the net volume of water influx reduces the gas
volume. The material balance equation must reflect this addition, subsequently, we can
original volume remaining volume  net water 
   
 of GIP, rcf   of GIP, rcf  influx, rcf 
Assuming no injection has occurred, that rock and water compressibility changes are
small and the solubility of gas in the water is negligible, then the general material balance
equation reduces to:
p  p  
 
Gp 1 
   1  We  5.615Wp B w (1.5)
z  z i  G GBg
 

We = cumulative water influx into the gas reservoir, rcf
Wp = cumulative water production, stb
Bw = water formation volume factor in rbbl/stb.

Rearranging Eq. (1.5) to solve for gas-in-place results in the following expression,

 
G B 
 We  5.615B w Wp 

G 
p g 
B  B

g gi

Early in the producing life of a reservoir, the difference in the denominator is small and
therefore could lead to erroneous values of gas-in-place. Subsequently, to obtain accurate
results, Eq. (1.6) should be used over longer periods of time.

To estimate the ultimate recovery efficiency in a water-drive gas reservoir requires an

estimate of residual or trapped gas saturation. In a water-drive gas reservoir, gas
saturation at abandonment (called residual or trapped) does not equal original gas
saturation: Sgr = Sgt  Sgi; therefore,

 B gi Sgr   p a z Sgr 
RFwd  1    1  i 
 B ga Sgi   z a p i Sgi  (1.7)
   
Implicit in the derivation of Equation (1.7) is the assumption that volumetric sweep
efficiency for gas, Ev, is 100%. This assumption is optimistic as frequently the
displacement of gas by water results in unswept, bypassed portions of the reservoir,
increasing the trapped gas saturation. Subsequently, a modified form of Eq. (1.6) is:
B gi  Sgr 1  E v 
RFwd  1  E v    (1.8)
B ga  Sgi E v 

Some published values of residual gas saturation were given by Geffen (1952) and are
shown in Table 1.1 below.

Porous Material Formation Sgr, %

Unconsolidated sand 16
Slightly consolidated sand 21
Synthetic consolidated sand Selas Porcelain 17
Norton Alundum 24
Consolidated sandstones Wilcox 25
Frio 30-38
Nellie Bly 30-36
Frontier 31-24
Springer 33
Torpedo 34-37
Tensleep 40-50
Limestone Canyon Reef 50
Table 1.1 Residual gas saturation after waterflood as measured on core plugs
(Geffen,et. al, 1952)

Example 1.2
The reservoir is the same as described in the previous example except that pressure is
fully maintained at its original value by a strong water drive. Assume that the entire gas

reservoir is swept by water. What is the recovery factor? Given: Sgi = 75% and Sgt =
35%, respectively. What if Ev = 60%?

Since the pressure is constant for the life of the reservoir, a simplified form of Eq. (1.7)
 Sgr 
RFwd  1    1  0.35  53%
 Sgi  0.75
 
Similiarly, if the volumetric sweep efficiency is accounted for, then Eq. (1.8) results in
RFwd = 32%.

Both are much less than typical recovery efficiencies in depletion-drive gas reservoirs.
Note that a partial water drive does not maintain pressure completely, and thus would
allow some gas production by pressure depletion, and recovery efficiency would
improve. In general, recovery efficiency in a gas reservoir is much better under depletion-
drive than under water-drive.

A modified material balance for water drive gas reservoirs was proposed by Hower and
Jones (1991) and Schafer, et al (1993) to account for pressure gradients that develop
across the invaded region. Previous theory assumed the invaded zone pressure is
equivalent to the reservoir pressure and is constant. The modified approach accounts for
pressure gradients in the invaded zone due to capillary pressure. The method predicts a
higher pressure at the original reservoir boundary and a much lower pressure in the
uninvaded region of the reservoir. Both water influx calculations and reservoir
performance predictions are influenced by the pressure gradient term.

The pressure drop in the invaded zone is given by the steady state radial flow equation.
141.2q w  w ln(ro / rt )
pinv  po  pt  (1.9)
k rw kh
po = pressure at the original reservoir boundary
pt = pressure at the current reservoir boundary
ro = radius at the original reservoir boundary
rt = radius at the current reservoir boundary

The relative permeability to water is evaluated at the endpoint; i.e., at residual gas
saturation; therefore it is not required to obtain the entire relative permeability curve. The
residual gas saturation is assumed constant throughout the entire invaded region. The
water flow rate can be estimated using the water influx term, q w = dWe/dt. The resulting
modified material balance equation becomes:

G p B g  G ( B g  B gi )  Gt ( B gt  B g )  We  B wW p (1.10)

where Gt is the volume of trapped gas in the invaded region of the reservoir and is a
function of Sgr and average pressure in the invaded region.

Results from the proposed modified material balance method agreed with a numerical
simulation model and demonstrated the influence of relative permeability on the reservoir
performance. Figure 1.3 from Hower and Jones (1991) illustrates the excellent match
with the simulator if a krw = 0.06 is assumed. Also, notice the difference in reservoir
performance between the conventional and modified material balance techniques.

Figure 1.3 Comparison of reservoir performance for conventional and modified material
balance methods and numerical simulation. (Hower and Jones, 1991)

Example 1.3
GWINFLUX is a software application for the modified gas material balance method
provided by GRI. Use the DEMO.DAT file and determine the OGIP.

When applying the material balance equations for oil and gas reservoirs the typical
solution is to rearrange to solve for N and then used to compute OOIP or OGIP at
different times during a reservoir's life. Naturally the results of each calculation vary
somewhat from one time to another. Thus, there are often major questions about the
correct value for OOIP or OGIP, especially if a gas cap or water influx is present.

A powerful method of removing much of the doubt concerning the accuracy of computed
results was presented by Havlena and Odeh in two papers in 1963 and 1964. The first

paper presents the theory; the second presents field case studies. Havlena and Odeh's
method rearranges the material balance equations into an algebraic form that results in an
equation of a straight line. The procedure requires plotting one variable group versus
another. The shape of the plot and sequence of plotted points provide important insight
into the validity of the assumed reservoir drive mechanism.

The linearized material balance equation for gas reservoirs is:

5.615W B
F e w
G (1.11)
t t

where G represents the original gas in place at standard conditions, and

F = total net reservoir voidage

F  G p B g  W p Bw (1.12)
Et = Eg + Ecf = total expansion

Eg = expansion of gas in reservoir

E g  B g  B gi (1.13)
Ecf = connate water and formation expansion * Bgi

 S wi c w  c f  
Ecf  B gi * 
 1  S wi

 p p
 i 
 (1.14)
  

Since G and Gp are usually expressed in SCF, the units of Bg and Bgi are in RCF/SCF. A
plot of F/Et vs WeBw/Et should result in a straight line with intercept of G, the original gas
in place, and slope related to water influx (see Figure 1.4).

We too small

We correct

We too large
F/Et ,stb


We Bw

Figure 1.4 Material balance linear plot for gas reservoirs with aquifer support

To appropriately interpret Figure 1.4, the material balance equation must be coupled with
a water influx model. For example, for the Fetkovich aquifer model, the slope of the
straight line should be equal to one. If not, different aquifer properties must be used.
Others are the unsteady state Van Everdingen and Hurst and steady state Schilthuis water
influx models. In the former, a straight-line slope provides an estimate of the water
influx constant, B. If the data does not plot as a straight line then different aquifer
properties must be estimated. In the latter, the slope is equal to the water influx constant,
k. Further discussion on water influx properties is beyond the scope of this chapter. For
details the reader is directed to the references at the end of this chapter.

The drive indices for a gas reservoir are defined as follows:

GE g
Gas drive index: GDI  (1.15)
G p Bg
We Bw  W p Bw
Water drive index: WDI  (1.16)
G p Bg
Compressibility drive index: CDI  (1.17)
G p Bg

Where the sum of the drive indices is equal to one.

Example 1.4

The performance history for a gas reservoir with water influx is given in Table 1.2 below.
Solve for the correct gas-in-place using the linearized method.
time Gp Bg Wp
days mscf rbbl/mscf stb
1 816 0.837 0
31 25299 0.843 0
61 52191 0.849 0
92 83814 0.855 0
123 140817 0.868 16563
153 210174 0.885 37934
184 260921 0.894 54497
214 313742 0.905 75868
245 392389 0.925 108994
276 429366 0.930 120036
304 504400 0.952 144969
335 618738 0.993 183615
365 733260 1.035 221015
396 825832 1.067 259662
426 909022 1.098 297061
457 949839 1.104 335708
488 991534 1.117 385396
518 1031923 1.132 396082
549 1074335 1.152 478896
579 1109657 1.167 516296
610 1145626 1.185 554942
641 1196897 1.221 571505
670 1275411 1.289 612823
701 1315925 1.316 651469
731 1353185 1.340 688869
762 1385369 1.360 721995
792 1427744 1.407 754052
823 1463357 1.442 853428
854 1501825 1.488 958326
Table 1.2 Performance history data for Example 1.4

The example is setup to demonstrate the influence of water influx on identifying the
5.0 line. A cumulative water influx of 831 mbbl, results in a straight line and
correct straight
estimate of4.8
2.107 Bscf of gas-in-place (See Figure 1.5). A decrease in cumulative water
influx of 484 mbbl. resulted in a concave upwards trend andy an increase in cumulative
= 1.0602x + 2.1074
water influx of 1427 mbbl resulted in a concave downwards trend. 2
4.4 R = 0.9843
The GDI is4.2approximately constant at 60% and the WDI at 40% for the +2 years of
production 4.0

1.0 1.5 1.112.0 2.5 3.0
Figure 1.5 Influence of water influx on gas material balance for Example 1.4

Note if no connate water and formation expansion occurs, then Eq. (1.11) reduces to Eq.
(1.6), the standard expression for gas material balance with water drive. Also, if the
reservoir drive mechanism is purely by gas expansion (depletion drive), then Eq. (1.11)
reduces to:
F  GEt (1.18)
A plot of F vs Et should be a straight line through the origin with slope of G.

1.3.2 Abnormally pressured gas reservoirs

In high-pressure, depletion drive type reservoirs formation and fluid compressibility

effects result in a nonlinear p/z vs cumulative plot. Figure 1.6 is a schematic illustrating
this behavior. The rate of decrease of pressure during the early time is reduced due to
support of these compressibility components. Extrapolation of this initial slope will
result in an overestimation of gas-in-place and reserves. As pressure reduces to a normal
gradient, the formation compaction influence on the reservoir becomes negligible and
thus the remaining energy comes from the expansion of the gas in the reservoir. This
accounts for the second slope in Figure 1.6.

(p/z)i Gas expansion
Formation compaction
Water expansion

Gas expansion

Overestimate of G


Figure 1.6 nonlinear p/z vs Gp plot due to formation and water compressibility effects.

Assuming no water influx or production and no injection, then the general material
balance equation (1.4) reduces to:

pi G 
1  p 
p 
zi G  (1.19)

z 1  c e( p ) ( p i  p) 
where ce(p) is a pressure-dependent effective compressibility term. An early definition of
ce(p) by Ramagost and Farshad (1981) where in terms of constant pore and water
c S c
c e  w wi f (1.20)
(1  S wi )
Average values were assumed thus removing the complication of pressure dependency.
To determine gas-in-place, the p/z term (y-axis) is linearized by plotting,
p   c w S wi  c f  (p i  p) 
1   vs G p
z (1  S wi ) 
Example 1.5
Estimate the original gas-in-place for the data given by Duggan (1972) for the Anderson
L sand. Apply both the conventional and geopressured material balance equations.
pi = 9,507 psia
cw = 3.2 x 10-6 psi-1
Swi = 0.24
cf = 19.5 x 10-6 psi-1
Original pressure gradient = 0.843 psi/ft

p,psia z Gp,Bcf
9507 1.440 0
9292 1.418 0.3925
8970 1.387 1.6425
8595 1.344 3.2258
8332 1.316 4.2603
8009 1.282 5.5035
7603 1.239 7.5381
7406 1.218 8.7492
7002 1.176 10.5093
6721 1.147 11.7589
6535 1.127 12.7892
5764 1.048 17.2625
4766 0.977 22.8908
4295 0.928 28.1446
3750 0.891 32.5667
3247 0.854 36.8199

Figure 1.7 displays the results of the conventional material balance. Gas-in-place is
estimated to be 89.3 Bcf.

Figure 1.7 Conventional material balance solution for Example 1.5

Figure 1.8 shows the results when using the geopressured approach. The resulting gas-in-
place is 70.7 Bscf. Thus if the conventional approach is taken, the gas-in-place will be
overestimated by more than 25%.

Figure 1.8 Geopressured material balance solution for Example 1.5

The above example assumed that formation compressibility was both known and
constant. However, frequently formation compressibility varies during pressure
depletion, and is difficult to obtain in the laboratory. Roach (1981) developed a material
balance technique for simultaneously estimating formation compressibility and gas-in-
place and was later applied by Poston and Chen (1987) to the Anderson L example. The
revised material balance equation is:
1  p i z  1  G p p i z  S wi c w  c f
  1  
 p i  p   pz i  G   p i  p  pz i  1  S wi (1.21)

If the formation compressibility is constant then a straight line will develop with a slope
= 1/G and an intercept = -(Swicw + cf)/(1-Swi).

Example 1.6
Repeat example 1.5 and estimate both gas-in-place and formation compressibility. Figure
1.9 shows the results from this analysis. The original gas-in-place is estimated from the
G  75.8 Bscf
and the formation compressibility from the intercept,
c f  bx106 (1  S wi )  S wi cw  12.5 x106 psi 1

The deviation from the straight line at early time is due to the pore fluids supporting the
overburden pressure. However, as fluids are withdrawn the formation compacts, thus
transferring more of the support on the rock matrix.

Figure 1.9 Simultaneous solution of gas-in-place and formation compressibility for a
volumetric geo-pressured gas reservoir, Example 1.6

Fetkovich, et al. in 1991 further expanded the effective compressibility term by including
both gas solubility and total water associated with the gas reservoir volume. The
resulting expression accounts for pressure dependency.
ctw( p) S wi  c f ( p)  M [ctw( p)  c f ( p ) ]
ce( p)  (1.22)
(1  S wi )
The cumulative total water compressibility, ctw, is composed of water expansion due to
pressure depletion and the release of solution gas in the water and its expansion. The
associated water-volume ratio, M accounts for the total pore and water volumes in
pressure communication with the gas reservoir. This includes non-net pay water and pore
volumes such as in interbedded shales and shaly sands, and external water volume found
in limited aquifers. The authors defined both terms as:
M  M NNP  M aq

nnp  1  hn / hg   h   2 
  aq  raq 
  1 (1.23)
   h   r 
r  hn / hg r  r 
    
nnp - non-net pay property
r - reservoir (net pay) property
aq - aquifer property
hn/hg - net to gross ratio

The proposed method of obtaining gas-in-place requires a trial and error solution.
Historical pressure and production data is coupled with an assumed gas-in-place value to
back-calculate values of effective compressibility from a rearranged material balance

  p / z  i  G p  1
 c e  backcalculated  1  1  (1.24)
  p / z   G   pi  p
The effective compressibility from Eq. (1.24) can be plotted as a function of pressure, and
compared to values determined from rock and fluid properties in Eq. (1.22). A
reasonable fit between the two methods provides an estimate of gas-in-place and a
measure of physical significance to the results.

Example 1.7
Fetkovich, et al tested their method on the Anderson L sand data from Duggan (1971).
Additionally, they calculated total water compressibility as a function of pressure. Using
their values of ctw, a G = 72 Bscf, cf = 3.2 x 10 -6 psi -1, and M = 2.25, the following
results were obtained.

Figure 1.10 Comparison of back-calculated effective compressibility assuming OGIP

with the rock and fluid property derived values.

Figure 1.10 shows best fit results after varying M, c f, and G, respectively. (The authors
also varied Swi and decided on Swi = 0.35. In Fig 1.10 the original Swi = 0.24 was
maintained.) Figure 1.11 shows the performance match and prediction using the
variables listed above. The estimated gas-in-place of 72 Bcf is within the range of the
previous methods. Notice the first data points at high pressure in Figure 1.10 do not fit
the correlation drawn. These points correspond to the same data points which deviate
from the straight line in Figure 1.9, and thus the same explanation is believed valid for
this method as well.

The disadvantages of the Fetkovich, et al method are the requirement of rock and water
properties to build the effective compressibility correlation, the assumption that c f is
constant, and the non-uniqueness of the solution since multiple combinations of the
variables can yield the same outcome. The advantage is the addition of the pressure

dependency of the water compressibility and the development of a physical basis for the

Figure 1.11 Performance match and prediction for the Anderson L reservoir.

1.3.3 Low permeability gas reservoirs

Gas material balance in conventional, volumetric reservoirs is described by a linear

relationship between pressure/z-factor (p/z) and cumulative production. Unfortunately,
tight gas reservoirs do not exhibit this type of behavior, but instead develop a nonlinear
trend (see Figure 1.12), which is not amenable to conventional analysis.

m ?
2 =
(p/z)int Co
m n ve
Tig 1 nti
h on
t ga a lr
s re esp

spo on

Gp G

Figure 1.12 P/z response for conventional gas reservoir and a tight gas reservoir.

The nonlinear trend is a function both of the pressure measurement technique and the
reservoir characteristics. Typical shut in periods are not of sufficient duration to achieve
a representative average reservoir pressure. This concept can be reinforced by examining
the criteria for reaching pseudosteady state flow.
 i cti A
t pss  3790 t DApss (1.25)
Assuming a well located in the center of the drainage area and substituting typical
reservoir and gas properties for a tight gas formation ( = 11%, k = 0.1 md, gi = 0.012
cp., cti = 0.001 psi-1), results in a time to reach pseudosteady state of 2 years for an 80-
acre drainage area and 16 years for a 640-acre drainage area. Subsequently, a single
buildup pressure measurement after seven days of shut in will not achieve such a
boundary condition.

To analyze low-permeability reservoirs the following constraints are applied: (1) no water
influx, (2) constant reservoir temperature, (3) no rock compressibility effects, and (4)
only single phase dry gas; i.e., no phase changes occur in the reservoir. Furthermore, to
simplify the analysis the bottomhole flowing pressure will be assumed to be constant
over the life of the well. A reasonable assumption for dry gas wells controlled by surface
line pressure.

Referring to Figure 1.12, three trends are exhibited on the p/z plots for low permeability
reservoirs. During the early time period a rapid decrease in pressure occurs. If this trend
is extrapolated to p/z = 0, the gas-in-place (G) will be seriously underestimated. The
behavior has been previously explained as the response to transient flow (Slider, 1983);
however, additional analysis did not confirm this hypothesis. An alternative solution is
the rapid depletion of a stimulated well in a reservoir consisting of a natural fracture
network; in simple terms, the flush production associated with such a condition. Coupled
with this behavior is the inability of the pressure measurement technique to capture
reservoir pressure within the testing time. Subsequently, as the drainage radius is
expanding the testing pressure deviates more and more from the average reservoir

The intermediate period exhibits uniform slope over an extended period of time, even
though, the magnitude of the pressure measurement observed is significantly below the
average reservoir pressure. During this period, the test time is too short to capture the
average pressure response; however, consistency of the data suggests that a similar region
is being repeatedly investigated by the pressure test. For example, notice in Figure 1.13
the difference in pws and pr is approximately constant for an extended period of time.
Several researchers (Stewart,1970) (Brons and Miller, 1961) have presented methods to
correct measured data to average reservoir pressure by pressure buildup techniques.


Case A

.472re P/z m
rw re 2

Figure 1.13 Schematic of a partial buildup response in a tight gas reservoir, indicating the
difference in measured pws and average reservoir pressure, pr. Gp G 1 G 2
The constant slope provides an opportunity to estimate the hydrocarbon-pore volume,
Vhc. Defining the slope (m) as; Case B
(p / z)
m (1.26)
G p
P/z m
and substituting into the gas material balance equation, results min
2 an expression to
determine Vhc.
TPsc 1
V  * (1.27)
hc Tsc m
Gp G 1= G 2
From volumetrics,
m2 Case
Case AA Vhc  43560Ah(1  S w ) (1.28)
thus providing a method to determine the drainage area.
Case C
P/z P/z
Furthermore, m the
from P/z three scenarios can be developed
m observation of a constant slope,
1= 1 m
m11 is defining the
m = m as illustrated in Figure 1.14. The problem
to determine the gas-in-place
2 2 mm measure the
relationship between the determined slope and the actual slope if one could
actual reservoir pressure. Case A exhibits two parallel trends of constant slope; i.e., m 1 =
m2. Gas-in-place can readily be obtained from,
G 1 G 2
1p G 2
Gp G p Gp
G 1GG2 i  1
G * (1.29)
z  m
 i
Case B between the two lines is due to the initial reservoir
Case B
The difference in gas-in-place
pressure difference; and not the hydrocarbon pore volume, which is the same for both
lines.(p/z) m
P/zint m 1
P/z 1
m m2

Gp G 1= G21.20
Gp G1= G2
Figure 1.14. Three possible relationships between the conventional response and the tight
gas response.

To have equal slopes suggests the pressure test is measuring a radius of investigation that
is proportional to the radius of drainage of the reservoir. That is, ri  constant* re over an
extended period of time. The magnitude of gas-in-place will be overestimated by this
method and therefore provides an upper bound to the well.

In case B the slopes are different, but the intersection point occurs at the same gas-in-
place. Estimation of G is obtained by,
 p 1  pi  1
G  *  * (1.30)
 z  int m1  zi  m2

where the (p/z)int is the intercept value from the identified pressure trend. To solve for the
correct Vhc requires the substitution of m2 into Eq. (1.27). Subsequently, the hydrocarbon
pore volume is corrected to reflect the difference in reservoir pressures. For this behavior
to occur means the investigative volume seen during subsequent pressure tests is
approaching the average drainage volume of the well. In other words, r i  0.472re. This
is as expected for depleted reservoirs where the pressure gradient is approximately
uniform throughout the reservoir.

The third and final scenario (Case C) exhibits both a different slope and intercept
between the measured pressure trend and the actual reservoir behavior. Unfortunately,
the measured data does not reflect the actual reservoir behavior. The best is to estimate a
range for gas-in-place using Case A as the upper bound and case B as the lower bound.

A final stage of the life of the well occurs when depletion has been significant (see Fig.
1.12). At this time the measured pressure curve flattens and becomes constant;
converging to the actual average reservoir pressure. In many cases the gas-in-place was
estimated by extending a straight line from the initial p/z point through this late time
point. Experience has shown this method typically underestimates gas-in-place, due to
the late time measured pressure slightly underpredicting the actual reservoir pressure.
Also, as Fetkovich, (1987) correctly point out, a rise in pressure can be a rebound
effect due to a decrease in withdrawal from the reservoir.

Example 1.8
The example well produces from the Pictured Cliffs sandstone in the San Juan Basin of
northwest New Mexico. Picture Cliffs is a low permeability, sandstone to shaly sandstone
gas reservoir found at a depth of approximately 3200 feet and developed on 160 acre
spacing (Dutton, et al, 1983). The example well (No.114) was initially completed in
1958 and included a hydraulic fracture treatment to be commercially productive. Other
well and reservoir data are listed below. The long history of production and pressure data
make this well an excellent candidate for investigation.

 11
gi, cp 0.0134
h, ft 40
-1 -4
cti, psi x 10 5.77
g 0.67
Tr , deg F 106
Sw, % 44
rw, ft. 0.229
Pi, psi 1131
Table 1.3 Input well and reservoir properties

Figure 1.15 is the p/z vs cumulative production plot for this well. In the San Juan Basin,
pressure data is recorded over a 7-day shut in period and reported annually until 1974 and
every other year until 1990. The primary purpose of collecting this information was for
deliverability testing and proration. Notice the typical tight gas well response of a rapid
decrease in pressure within the first year. This behavior does not correspond to the end of
the transient period, which occurs 8 to 10 years later according to decline curve analysis.
The majority of time and hence cumulative production exhibits case B behavior; i.e.,
constant p/z decline. Applying Eq. (1.30) this trend results in an estimate of 661 mmscf
of gas-in-place.
P/Z vs. Cumulative Production
No. 114




P/Z, psia


200 y = -0.8367x + 552.88

R2 = 0.958 1.22
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700

Cumulative Production, mmscf

Figure 1.15. Field example of tight gas response (Case B) on p/z plot and estimation of

Also shown on Figure 1.15 is an extrapolation between the initial p/z and the anomalous
increase in p/z found in the latest data points; resulting in 520 mmscf of gas-in-place.
Frequently this extrapolation is applied to tight gas wells to estimate gas-in-place and
recovery. The validity of the last points is pivotal to this method being successful or not.
These pressure points were acquired during a time of extended cycles of shutin and
production due to external constraints. The resulting bottomhole flowing pressure is
increased which subsequently translates into an increase in recorded shutin bottomhole
pressure. This is the same conclusion as drawn by Fetkovich, et al. in 1987. Unless this
pressure data is obtained very late in the life of the well it is likely this method will
underestimate gas-in-place and reserves.

Cumulative production (through 2006) for this well is 526 mmscf; therefore 80% of the
gas-in-place has been recovered. A rate – cumulative plot (Figure 1.16) also provides a
linear trend, which when extrapolated results in gas-in-place of 700 mmscf or 75%
recovery. Both methods are within reasonable agreement.



flow rate, mscf/month







0 1.23
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
Cumulative production, mmscf
Figure 1.16. Extrapolation of Rate – cumulative trend for gas-in-place.

A key to tight gas development is the drainage area of existing wells and the feasibility of
infill drilling. Using Equation (1.30) to adjust the slope, the hydrocarbon pore volume is
calculated to be 7.544 mmrcf. Substitution of the known gas and well properties results
in a drainage area calculation of 70 acres.

To further investigate the tight gas, pressure behavior, a single well, simulation model
was developed for single-phase flow. As a simplification, the reservoir properties were
assumed to be homogeneous and isotropic. The well was bottomhole pressure
constrained, initially at 250 psi and then reduced to 150 psi ten years later. This change
reflects the actual pressures measured during the annual deliverability tests. Figure 1.17
illustrates the excellent match between the results from the simulator with the measured
data for both gas rate and shutin bottomhole pressure. The success of the model verifies
the linear trends seen on the gas material balance plots and the slow pressure response of
tight gas reservoirs. Furthermore, to obtain this match the areal extent of the simulation
model was 86 acres, which is in agreement with the previous methods.

The analysis suggests this well has drained 70 to 90 acres of the dedicated 160-acre
proration unit and has recovered approximately 70% of the gas-in-place within that
volume. The paradox is the boundary-dominated flow exhibited by the decline curve.
The nearest well is approximately 1850 feet away from the subject well, farther than the
estimated drainage area. Two explanations can be given. First, the drainage calculations
are based on 1000
isotropic conditions and therefore a circular drainage pattern.
1200 However, if
anisotropy exists, then the two wells are sufficiently close enough to provide interference.
Investigation of production and geological trends show a dominant northwest/southeast
simulated 1000
direction, the exact direction of these two wells. Second, a thinning of the reservoir net
production rate, mscf/mo

pay thickness over the areal extent of this well would increase the drainage area. For
example if thickness is reduced by half then the drainage area doubles800
to approximately
SIBHP, psi

160 acres.

10 400


1 0
0 5 10 1.24 15 20 25
time, years
Figure 1.17 Comparison of simulation results with measured data for Pictured Cliffs


Agarwal, R.G., Al-Hussainy, R. and Ramey, Jr., H.J.: “The Importance of Water Influx in
Gas Reservoirs”, JPT (Mar. 1965).

Brons,F and Miller, W.C.:”A Simple Method for Correcting Spot Pressure Readings,”
(1961) Trans., AIME 222, 803-805.

Carter,R.D. and Tracy, G.W.: “An Improved Method for Calculating Water Influx”, JPT,
(Dec. 1960)

Duggan, J.O. “The Anderson L – An Abnormally Pressured Gas Reservoir in South

Texas, “ JPT 24, No. 2, pp. 132-138, (Feb. 1972).

Dutton,S.P., Clift,S.J., Hamilton,D.S., Hamlin,H.S., Hentz, T.F., Howard, W.E.,

Akhter,M.S., and Laubach,S.E.: “Major Low Permeability Sandstone Gas Reservoirs in
the Continental United States”, GRI/BEG Report No. 211 (1993)

Engler, T.W.: “A New Approach to Gas Material Balance in Tight Gas Reservoirs”, SPE #
62883, presented at the ATCE in Dallas, TX (2000).

Fetkovich, M.J.: “A Simplified Approach to Water Influx Calculations- Finite Aquifer

Systems”, JPT, (July 1971), p814.

Fetkovich,M.J., Vienot,M.E., Bradley,M.D. and Kiesow, U.G. : ”Decline-Curve Analysis

Using Type Curves-Case Histories,” SPEFE (Dec. 1987) 637-656.

Fetkovich, M.J., Reese, D.E. and Whitson, C.H.: “Application of a General Material
Balance for High-Pressure Gas Reservoirs”, SPE 22921, presented at the ATCE in Dallas,
TX. (October 1991)

Geffen, T.M., Parrish, D.R., Haynes, G.W., and Morse, R.A.: “Efficiency of Gas
Displacement from Porous Media by Liquid Flooding”, Trans AIME 195, pp 29-38

Hammerlindl, D.J. “ Predicting Gas Reserves in Abnormally Pressure Reservoirs,” paper

presented at the SPE ATCE in New Orleans, La., (Oct 1971).

Havlena, D. and Odeh, A.S.: “The Material Balance as an Equation of a Straight Line,”
Trans. AIME Part 1: 228 I-896 (1963), Part 2: 231 I-815 (1964).

Hower, T.L. and Jones, R.E.: “Predicting Recovery of Gas Reservoirs Under Waterdrive
Conditions”, SPE 22937, presented at the ATCE in Dallas, TX (Oct. 1991)

Ikoku, C.U.: Natural Gas Reservoir Engineering, Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, FL

Lee, J. and Wattenbarger, R.A.: Gas Reservoir Engineering, SPE Textbook Series, Vol 5,
Richardson, TX 1996.

Poston, S. W. and Chen, H-Y.: “Simultaneous Determination of Formation

Compressibility and Gas-in-Place in Abnormally Pressured Reservoirs,” SPE 16227
presented at the 1987 Production Operations Symposium in OKC, OK (March 1987).

Ramagost, B.P. and Farshad, F.F: “p/z Abnormal Pressured Gas Reservoirs,” SPE 10125,
presented at the ATCE in San Antonio, TX (Oct. 1981).

Roach, R.H. :”Analyzing Geopressured Reservoirs – A Material Balance Technique,”

SPE paper 9968, Dallas, Tx, (Dec. 1981).

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published by GRI (1993)

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Publishing, Tulsa, OK (1983)

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1970) 1149-1156.

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Problems in Reservoirs”, Trans AIME 186, pp 305-324, (1949)


1. One well has been drilled in a volumetric (closed) gas reservoir, and from this well
the following information was obtained:

Initial reservoir temperature, Ti = 175ºF

Initial reservoir pressure, pi = 3000 psia
Specific gravity of gas, g = 0. 60 (air = 1)
Thickness of reservoir, h = 10 ft
Porosity of the reservoir, = 10%
Initial water saturation, Swi = 35%

After producing 400 MMscf the reservoir pressure declined to 2000 psia. Estimate the
areal extent of this reservoir.

2. Reservoir temperature is 180ºF. Reservoir pressure has declined from 3400 to 2400
psia while producing 550 MMscf. Standard conditions are 16 psia and 80ºF. Gas
gravity is 0.66. Assuming a volumetric reservoir, calculate the initial gas-in-place and
the remaining reserves to an abandonment pressure of 500 psia, all at the given
standard conditions.

3. A gas field with an active water drive showed a pressure decline from 3000 to 2000
psia over a 10-month period. From the following production data, match the past
history and calculate the original hydrocarbon gas in the reservoir. Assume z = 0.8 in
the range of reservoir pressures and T = 600ºF.

time p Gp
months psia mmscf
0.0 3000 0.0
2.5 2750 97.6
5.0 2500 218.9
7.5 2250 355.4
10.0 2000 500.0

4. The material balance plot below is for Well No .88, completed in the Picture Cliffs
Formation in the San Juan Basin as described in Example 1.8. Well and reservoir
properties are given below.
, % 11
gi, cp 0.0131
h, ft 67
cti, psi-1 x 10-4 6.22
g 0.67
Tr , deg F 103
Sw, % 44
rw, ft. 0.229
Pi, psi 1045

Estimate the gas-in-place and drainage area for this well. If cumulative production
was 752 mmscf, what has been the recovery factor?



p/z, psia





0 200 400 600 800 1000
cumulative production, mmscf

5. Ramagost and Farshad (1981) provided the following information for an offshore
Louisiana gas reservoir.
pi = 11,444 psia
cf = 19.5 x 10-6 psia-1
Swi = 0.22
cw = 3.2 x10-6 psia-1

p,psia z Gp,Bcf p/z

11444 1.496 0 7650
10674 1.438 9.92 7423
10131 1.397 28.62 7252
9253 1.330 53.60 6957
8574 1.280 77.67 6698
7906 1.230 101.42 6428
7380 1.192 120.36 6191
6847 1.154 145.01 5933
6388 1.122 160.63 5693
5827 1.084 182.34 5375
5409 1.054 197.73 5132
5000 1.033 215.66 4840
4500 1.005 235.74 4478
4170 0.988 245.90 4221

Estimate the original gas-in-place

a. assuming a normally pressured gas reservoir
b. assuming a geopressured reservoir and known cf
c. assuming a geopressured reservoir with an unknown, but constant cf.

Appendix A
Procedure for predicting reservoir pressure and water influx (Schafer, et al, 1993)

a. Steady state radial flow occurs throughout the invaded zone
b. Residual gas saturation is constant throughout the invaded region

Reservoir ra
boundary Invaded

reservoir ro

influx Reservoir

Step 1: Calculate the original reservoir radius, ro, using rock and fluid properties,
1/ 2
 5.615B G 
gi 
ro   (A.1)
 hSgi 
 
Step 2: For a given Gp, estimate the pressure at the original reservoir boundary, Po.

Step 3: Calculate water influx (We) associated with po and the rock/fluid properties using
a standard method.

Step 4: Calculate the radius of the uninvaded zone, rt, using the We value calculated in
step 3.

1/ 2
 2 5.615We 
rt  ro   (A.2)
 h (Sgi  Sgr ) 
Step 5: Calculate the reservoir pressure at the flood front, pt.

141.2q w  w ln o 
po  p t   rt  (A.3)
kk rw h


qw  (A.4)

Step 6: Calculate the volumetric average pressure in the water invaded region.

 2  ro  
282.5q w  w  1 rt ln rt  
p  po     (A.5)
kk rw h  4 2(ro2  rt2 ) 
 

Step 7: Calculate the trapped gas volume, Gt.

 B r 
G T  A p o   ro2  rt2   ABrt2 ln o  (A.6)
 2    rt 


hS gr
A  1.111 x10  4 (A.7)

w w

B (A.8)
kk rw h

B gt  5034.6 (A.9)

Step 8: Solve the material balance equation for water influx.

We  G p B g  G (B g  B gi )  G T ( B gt  B g )  B w Wp (A.10)

Step 9: Compare We from step 8 with We from step 3. If not within a specified tolerance
then repeat steps 2 through 9.

Step 10: Repeat steps 1 through 9 for the next production increment.