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Multiphase-Flow Simulation Helps Find Optimal Lateral Length for Best Production

Wellbore lateral lengths and uniformity are important for production optimization, affecting liquid holdup and productivity throughout well production life. However, wellbore construction designed for holding leases and completed under time constraints could negatively affect production and limit operators’ potential for their acreage. This paper demonstrates a work flow to determine optimal lateral lengths and trajectories in the Midland Basin by studying the effect of the lateral length and trajectory on well production.

Introduction

Operators often use a scalar to determine wellbore contributions for wells with an atypical lateral length on their leases. The work flow presented here provides realizations to justify use of this scalar, evaluating whether lateral lengths proportionally increase production, whether wellbore contributions are uniform throughout the lateral length of the wells, and whether various wellbore deviations and tortuosities should have the same scalar applied for estimating well production.

A team investigated the effect of lateral length on well estimated ultimate recovery (EUR). The EURs were calculated from daily production data from 15 operators and then normalized by well lateral length from the top perforation to the bottom perforation. The modified hyperbolic method was used to perform the decline-curve analysis. Simply applying a scalar for the lateral length among the wells would not yield proportionate EURs. When drilled and completed in unconventional reservoirs with multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing, horizontal wells experience a decline in productivity with time because the conductivity of those man-made fractures deteriorates with production and time. Therefore, in order to understand the effect of wellbore trajectory and lateral length on production fully, the team developed a work flow to incorporate an in-depth analysis on transient effects of wellbore hydraulics combined with unconventional reservoir performance over time.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 187502, “Production Optimization in the Midland Basin Through Lateral Multiphase-Flow Simulation,” by Yogashri Pradhan, SPE, and Hongjie Xiong, SPE, Texas Oil and Gas Institute, prepared for the 2017 SPE Liquids-Rich Basins Conference—North America, Midland, Texas, USA, 13–14 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Multiphase-Flow Simulation Helps Find Optimal Lateral Length for Best Production

01 November 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 11

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